December 8, 2022

Why data sovereignty is essential to healthcare – and what it has to do with data spaces 

The human being is always at the center of all efforts in medicine. Every technological advance that has been made in the past and is being made today must be examined for its relevance for patients. The same applies for the use of data in the healthcare sector.

IDSA board member Dr. André Nemat – a physician with a background in engineering and Managing Partner of the Institute for Digital Transformation in Healthcare (idigiT) of the University Witten/Herdecke – explained in a presentation at a recent Data Spaces Dialogue session how important data sharing is for healthcare and how it made a big difference in the recent global pandemic.  

Data spaces helped fighting the pandemic big time 

Let’s take a look at how data sharing became the decisive factor in fighting COVID-19. Dr. Nemat emphasized that no other event in the last decade has been as significant for the healthcare sector: The virus triggered an international race to develop a vaccine and unprecedented collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and governments all around the world. And it worked! 

What made it possible? The case of the US biotech company Moderna can serve as an example here. They took a data-driven approach – fundamentally different from a typical pharmaceutical approach of the past. Software engineering and data science were used to reduce development time. With the help of AI, robotic processing and the integration of algorithms and data models they automated the analysis, outcomes were predicted faster, and the quality of the data was improved. These processes were already in place when the pandemic broke out because the company had been preparing its research arm for ten years and was now about to realize its full potential.  

42 days to prepare for the trials 

In this framework of data-driven research, it took Moderna only 42 days to produce a batch that was safe for humans and shipped it to the clinical trials. And here, too, a real-time analysis of the trials would not have been possible without the processing of all the health-related data with algorithmic intelligence. 30,000 subjects participated in the studies, a task that could not be accomplished in a short time without data support and real-time data analytics. Finally, just one year after the search began, Moderna received the authorization of its vaccine – very impressive for something that took many years to develop in the past. BioNTech has done the same in Germany, with similar tools and similar success.  

Data-driven healthcare potential 

The convergence of data and life science is a paradigm shift in the world of healthcare – any future development for the benefit of patients cannot be achieved without an interdisciplinary approach. And data is at the heart of it. We must be able to share and process data in a self-determined way. We need secure data spaces to unlock the potential of data while maintaining data sovereignty. Then that data will create value not only for the industry – but first and foremost for the patient’s well-being and longevity.

Stay updated with us