With these words Prof. André Dekker, Principal Investigator at BISS and Professor of clinical data science, started his interview. Back in November 2020, Computable, the largest ICT business platform in the Netherlands, announced that Prof. Dekker and his team won the reputable award in Health Care sector for the Personal Health Train (PHT).
“It is not one individual project,” Dr Johan van Soest, Data Science Researcher at BISS and a member of the board of the PHT team, stated. It can be seen as an approach, a network, a movement that has a complex structure with many ongoing projects on different levels and goals while. The PHT was the result of the collaboration of Zorginstituut Nederland, LUMC, Radboudumc, Go Fair, Integraal Kankercentrum Nederland, Maastro, Universiteit Maastricht, Health-RI, Stichting Nationale Intensive Care Evaluatie, Dutch Institute for Clinical Auditing, Nederlandse Hart Registratie, UMC Utrecht, Vektis, TNO and CZ. Find out more about the Personal Health Train here.
The PHT, simply put, is a way to analyze health data of hospitals without the data leaving the hospital. This approach is extremely beneficial for accessing large health databases while preserving citizens’ data and, most importantly, reusing it for innovation and research purposes. Using semantic web technologies, ontologies and containerization (Dockers), the PHT team was able to deliver a sophisticated yet efficient tool to use in hospitals around the world. According to Prof. Dekker, the Personal Health Train can be very useful in analyzing COVID-19 data.
The goal on the national level is to develop a Dutch health data infrastructure and create a “public utility” of health data which not only scientists but also citizens can use for their own purposes. As Dr Van Soest noted, the PHT has already proven to be applicable in research on the technical side but now they are at a phase aiming to implement it in clinical research, patient representative groups or patients themselves. In addition, it is to be scaled up internationally within a GO FAIR Implementation Network (IN) that aims to make the PHT a worldwide consortium.
On the societal level, Prof. Dekker clarifies that “there is an ultimate goal in the Personal Health Train which is to create what some people call a personal locker, some people call it pods of data, where the whole infrastructure is based on your pod of data … about yourself. That could be health data, could be Facebook data but a citizen, an individual person, has all the data under control of themselves. That’s the final goal.”
Watch the full interview below to learn more.
0:49 The Computational Award
1:53 What is The Personal Health Train
06:13 Technology used
09:33 Applications of the PHT and Further Development
12:26 Privacy Preservation
15:29 Meaning of the PHT for individuals
18:07 Technical Infrastructure of the PHT, Safety & Trust
21:23 Current state of the PHT