Toolbox Strategic Focus Area 3

Develop a federated data network to allow group level queries on harmonized datasets

The ultimate goal of this strategic focus area is to develop a federated data network to allow group level queries on harmonized datasets.

The MSDA envisions to develop and implement a “federated data network”, which aims to achieve insights without the need to “ship” data to a centralized data source. It allows local querying of different cohorts or registries. The data does not leave the local storage unit, and the results of those queries are shared (=so not the actual patient-level data). 

A federated data network has several advantages: 

  • data remains under the control of the data owner
  • locally required legal and ethical approvals apply
  • no patient-level data leaves the owner’s site, only aggregated counts, thereby ensuring patient privacy
  • GDPR – ‘Privacy by Design’
  • the analysis is “brought to the data” rather than creating a central data repository
  • use of common data model allows for efficient search / analysis across multiple data sets
  • requires close collaboration with data owners, which builds trust

We will continue the development of the federated structure to improve end-user experience and to reduce data custodian workload. First of all, we want to deliver a prototype of the improved MSDA infrastructure using the use case “automated cataloguing of COVID-19 variables”.

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