Exploitation of project results

SemanticHealthNet is a Network of Excellence on semantic interoperability. One of its core functions has therefore been to interface with many other projects, initiatives and organisations to promote the importance of semantic interoperability, to discover and to share emergent best practices and to provide advice where needed to other European endeavours. A second important function has been to explore options for how best to sustain the Network and expand on its work after this funded period. 

SHN has established relationships with many other European R&D projects, including the following non-exhaustive list:

EXPAND on the quality processes for the development of semantic interoperability assets, and the criteria by which the quality of an asset may be assessed;

TRILLIUM BRIDGE on areas of future standardisation that would be needed to develop an international patient summary standard and to scale up its adoption;

ANTILOPE on the semantic interoperability aspects of its use cases;

PARENT through being a member of its external stakeholders advisory board, learning about the interoperability challenges and opportunities for registries, developing specific clinical models for example areas of registry content, and offering a sustainability avenue for some of its endpoint assets;

EHR4CR by understanding its approaches to interfacing eHealth and clinical research standards, and its experience and methodologies for business modelling and use of the business modelling canvas; Dipak Kalra was invited to join the board of CDISC in order to promote and advise on the interfacing between clinical research and healthcare semantic standards;

TRANSFoRM in relation to the sustainability of its semantic interoperability assets, and as an invited member of its advisory board;

SALUS in relation to its metadata registry, the sustainability of this, and as a member of its advisory board.

Although most of these projects are coming to a close, by linking our network to these consortia we have help to ensure that the importance of semantic interoperability, the approaches  adopted in the project and the lessons learned, our disseminated through these other partners into new projects and initiatives. For example, SHN experts were invited to join all four successful consortia in the recent PHC-34 call on interoperability.

  1. To co-ordinate VALUeEHALTH and in particular to advance the business modelling methodology developed in SHN WP7 and to apply this to new prioritised use cases.
  2. In eStandards to lead the development of good practice guidelines for semantic interoperability assets such as clinical models, to contribute to the roadmap for future standardisation and to co-ordinate the engagement of external stakeholders.
  3. In ASSESS CT to be its co-lead, to lead WPs on the content coverage of SNOMED CT and on the development of the final policy recommendations, and to contribute the SHN heart failure summary into the empirical terminology evaluations.
  4. To co-ordinate openMedicine.

At a European strategic level SHN has contributed to the transatlantic co-operation roadmap, attending meetings and teleconferences, presenting at events (e.g. in Boston) and helping with successive drafts of the roadmap document itself. SHN provided specific written input to the drafting of the eHealth EIF, as well as attending consultation meetings organised by the EC and Deloitte during its development. SHN met regularly with representatives from the eHealth Governance Initiative, and was occasionally invited to present at its meetings. SHN experts were unofficially invited to critique drafts of various strategy documents on semantic interoperability.

In support of future European and international standardisation, SHN experts have contributed as experts in the revision of the EN ISO 13606 standard for electronic health record communication. This input has focused on the requirements and model for communicating archetypes, design guidance and practical examples of reference archetypes for key areas of semantics. SHN held a specific joint workshop with CEN on the 13606 revision, and provided regular input to a CEN Concurrent Use initiative on the aligned use of a portfolio of European standards. 

SHN hosted a joint meeting with the international clinical information modelling initiative (CIMI) in Brussels, in 2014, with global representation. SHN experts have continued to provide input to that initiative since that meeting.

SHN has throughout engaged with clinicians, and participated in events organised by the eHealth group of the European Society of Cardiology. It has engaged with industry - selected SMEs and larger EHR system vendors, and with COCIR and its members (as reported in D6.1). Other stakeholders have been invited to our Task Forces, workshops and other events including representatives from health ministries, health insurers and patient representatives. It has held specific engagement events with clinicians (through the European Society of Cardiology), patient representatives (through patient networks of the UK Royal College of Physicians) and industry (through COCIR), as reported in Deliverables 1.3, 3.3, 6.1 respectively.

Since the consortium itself comprises many international Standards Development Organisations, inevitably the project network has included these organisations, usually globally. Through the project work plan these organisations have gained a better understanding of the importance to end users and therefore to industry that multiple standards developed by different SDOs can work together and be adopted in combination. This message is penetrating back into these organisations and a greater willingness to collaborate on future standards alignment is emerging. 

EuroRec is reviewing the quality processes for interoperability assets defined in Deliverables 3.2, 3.3, 5.1 and 5.2, and will extract semantic interoperability quality criteria that could in future be incorporated within its quality labelling process for EHR systems.

Overall, SHN has been successful at raising the visibility and perceived importance of tackling semantic interoperability in order to enable the meaningful sharing of health data, and of deriving value from interpreting accurately the data that have been meaningfully shared. Semantic interoperability is now a recognised priority area across many stakeholder groups and initiatives, and many of the SHN network experts have become involved in multiple new projects and organisations that will benefit from and extend the learning.

However, although much has been achieved so much remains to be done, that the project has joined forces with other European projects to establish a new European not-for-profit Institute as the permanent approach to its sustainability: the European Institute for Innovation through Health Data (i~HD). This new Institute has emerged as the most appropriate and welcomed solution to the challenges of sustaining the momentum and community developing solutions for semantic interoperability. Multiple stakeholders from across Europe were involved in workshops and business modelling sessions in order to arrive at this conclusion. i~HD will initially focus its efforts on developing further semantic interoperability resources through an Alliance of relevant stakeholders and experts (including SDOs and industry), establishing a register of interoperability assets and developing an evidence base of benefits from richer interoperability. More details of the i~HD structure and intended work plan activities is given in D8.1.


Websites of above mentioned projects: