Health Data Sweden (HDS) will be the first among the EU’s new digital innovation hubs. The initiative is managed by Sebastiaan Meijer, Deputy Head of School at KTH in Flemingsberg.
The goal of HDS is to promote the use of health data to contribute to more efficient healthcare outcomes. The concept of health data includes information collected by healthcare providers, from individuals with the help of various sensors and health apps, and from research.
By combining different health data, it is possible to increase knowledge about individual conditions, identify new treatment methods and contribute to better diagnoses. Health data is believed to be a key factor in the growing field of precision medicine.
“Currently, the health data landscape is highly fragmented. There is a large number of good, smaller initiatives nationally and within the EU. But the exchange and access to health data is very limited. We also need to gather knowledge about how to best use and administer health data,” says Meijer.
One example of how health data is changing and simplifying care is a mobile app that growing numbers of health centres are using to provide faster answers to whether a change in a person’s skin could be due to cancer.
In Sweden, access to health data is primarily a regional issue, which slows its use and dissemination.
“We hope that the HDS consortium can lead to a breakthrough in usage by better co-ordinating data collection and dissemination. Our goal is to contribute to greater incentives for everyone to make available and share their health data throughout Europe,” Meijer says.
The HDS initiative brings together 18 partners across the country, such as universities, regional authorities, innovation environments and research institutes. HDS has recevied funding amounting to six million euros over three years.