Pre-conference: Better public health: a data centred approach to interoperability, with international information standards  

Wednesday 8 November, 13:30 - 17:00 Dublin time (starting with network lunch at 12:30)

Organised by:

GGD-GHOR (Netherlands), EUPHA Digital Health Section, EUPHA Public health monitoring and reporting section, Leibniz ScienceCampus Digital Public Health Bremen (Germany), Sciensano (Belgium), Population Health Information Research Infrastructure, DCU CEIC (Ireland)


During the pandemic, most countries faced a plethora of data and scalability issues in their surveillance and outbreak management efforts, also resulting in challenges with reporting. This highlights the necessity for more sustainable infrastructures. A data-centric approach, unlike an application-centric approach, prioritises the entire lifecycle of data, which encompasses its collection, storage, processing, analysis and utilisation. This approach emphasizes the value data has for response, informed decision making and innovation. Moreover, this data-centric approach fosters the scalability, flexibility and reliability needed for the management and (re)use of data during the next crisis.

Even when there is no crisis, a data-centric approach offers many opportunities to improve infectious disease control, and public health as a whole, for example by providing real-time reliable insights into how infectious diseases are spreading, both at home and across borders.

To enable efficient and seamless exchange of health data, ensuring consistent understanding and interpretation across different systems semantic interoperability is needed. Otherwise, vital time is lost, high costs incurred, and information mislaid, in ad-hoc conversions between different systems. This applies to both primary use of health data for delivering healthcare services and secondary use of health data for research purposes. In other domains, the challenge of interoperability has been addressed through the definition and implementation of international information standards, common standards and metadata standards.

Which standards are currently established in the healthcare domain? Can clinical care standards like openEHR be adapted or repurposed for public health to facilitate (re)use of data and gaining new insights? During this preconference, we will delve into the subject of working in a data-centric manner, we will examine which standards could be useful and how we can collaborate to develop or complement them.

Preparatory Course Work

All participants are expected to design a registration form for registering a case finding of a notifiable disease of their choice. Think of all the necessary information related to the case and how you would structure it.



Network lunch


Welcome & Introduction: data challenges in public health (GGD GHOR Nederland)


Pitch your form! (Stefan Buttigieg) – 3min pitch – 1min feedback

Participants will pitch the form they designed as part of the preparatory course work


What are information standards and why are they important? (Anthony Staines)

Terminologies – Ontologies – Information standards


Networking break (with coffee)


Benefits of common standards for the reuse of health data for research (Nienke Schutte & Miriam Saso)


Datacentric approach & standardisation – road to the future? (Arne Freriks & Atte Bootsma)


Standardisation in practice: standards landscape, reflection on current initiatives


What can we do? Call to action & drafting of joint statement to work towards public health standards


Wrap up


The registration fee is € 75 which includes networking lunch and refreshments.