Carlos III Health Institute takes part in European research programme on health data infrastructures on COVID-19

News - 2020.9.22

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The Carlos III Health Institute (Spanish acronym: ISCIII) is taking part in a European infrastructure project to handle population data on the COVID-19 pandemic. Spanish participation in this initiative, known as the 'Population Health Information Research Infrastructure' (PHIRI), is being headed up by the National Epidemiological Centre (Spanish acronym: CNE) of the ISCIII, and will be run by the researcher M. João Forjaz, and by the National Health School (Spanish acronym: ENS), with the involvement of Isabel Noguer. PHIRI has been developed based on the Joint Action on Health Information (InfAct) of the European Commission.

Specifically, the CNE will head up, together with Lisbon University, work programme number 5 of PHIRI, relating to the establishment of research methodologies to assess the impact of the pandemic. The ENS, for its part, will analyse the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and propose public health recommendations. In addition to researcher M. João Forjaz and Isabel Noguer, the following researchers from the ISCIII are also involved in the project: Asunción Díaz, Amparo Larrauri, Carmen Rodríguez-Blázquez and Rosa Cano (CNE), and Alicia Padrón (ENS). The Sub-Directorate-General of International Programmes of the ISCIII has taken part in drawing up the proposal.

The aim of PHIRI is to create and develop research mechanisms in Europe that enable the safe and reliable exchange of data to be enhanced and improved, generating important information on individual and group health that may be shared and harnessed globally. The idea is to generate tools to obtain, manage, standardise and employ this information on public health, which means developing IT and computer systems that allow the research community to harness data to the maximum.

The project provides for the creation of lists of good practices, shared protocols and common guides at a national and international level, to which end researchers can contribute the best possible information for healthcare professionals, patients, managers and politicians. One of the foundations of the initiative is to guarantee the interoperability of data, provide tools to guarantee the fair use of data and work on training professionals and patients to process them. Boosting the multi-disciplinary nature of agents related to managing health information is another of the keys of the project, which will create a repository of metadata.

PHIRI includes the generation of national nodes and various working groups, which will share an information portal on health with sources of information, population studies, research on public health, training material and ethical and legal guides. In order to develop an infrastructure throughout Europe, it is fundamental to have a technological base to optimise the handling of information on the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 on morbidity, mortality, quality of life, etc. in order to also generate and evaluate potential national scenarios that lead to a global improvement in Europe.

Non official translation