AHEAD explores the possibilities of integrating the data that exist within the Belgian health information system and facilitating its use for scientific exploitation and valorisation. In the longer term, the project aims to contribute to the development of a national health data platform.
Belgium has a rich health information landscape, with valuable information from administrative sources (e.g., health care use, mortality and causes of death, social security) as well as population health surveys and surveillance systems. These different sources are managed by a variety of academic and governmental actors, including Sciensano. To date, however, an integrated national health information system is lacking, hampering the valorisation of these data sources.
Linking or integrating existing digital collections of various sources requires
- An identification of the data collections within Belgian health information system;
- Mobilisation of the data holders;
- Exploration the opportunities for a sustainable and longitudinal connection between these data sources; and
- Definition of possible technical, legal and ethical bottlenecks in order to move away from the current status quo.
The overall aim of AHEAD is to offer an active push towards the development of a national health data platform, through the following specific activities:
- Characterisation and documentation of the Belgian health information system (WP1);
- Development of a business case built around prospective linkages between Sciensano’s Health Interview Survey (BHIS) data and administrative data sources, and aiming to identify technical, legal and ethical bottlenecks (WP2); and
- Elaboration of roadmaps to develop a national health data platform as an accessible, long term monitoring and research infrastructure (WP3).