€13 million goes to the HEALTH-X dataLOFT health data space in Gaia-X
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has officially handed over the funding award notices for the projects in the European digital ecosystem initiative Gaia-X. Professor Roland Eils, founding director of the Digital Health Center at the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH), accepted a check for €13 million euros on behalf of the consortium for the HEALTH-X dataLOFT project. The project aims to create a “citizen-centered health data space” that places citizens at the center of its focus, transforming them from passive recipients of services to active partners.
In addition to the BIH, numerous other research institutions as well as companies and institutions in the healthcare sector and patient associations are involved in the project.
The Bundesnetzagentur has approved the first eleven projects for the Gaia-X funding competition “Innovative and practical applications and data spaces in the Gaia-X digital ecosystem.” Eleven projects were selected from over 130 submitted project outlines to receive funding in the first tranche. A total of around €117.4 million in funding will be awarded by the end of 2024.
In his video message at the presentation of the funding award notices for the Gaia-X funding competition, Economics Minister Dr. Robert Habeck highlighted the importance and innovation of the Gaia-X projects in the context of digital transformation: “The launch of Gaia-X can only be described as a success. Now it is a matter of quickly paving the way for broader application.”
Transformation in the healthcare sector
“HEALTH-X dataLOFT has set itself the ambitious goal of achieving a transformation in the healthcare sector,” says Roland Eils, spokesperson for HEALTH-X and founding director of the BIH Center for Digital Health. “Citizens and patients are at the center of our approach. We will achieve this by enabling citizens to have access to all of their own health data. Through this, we want to increase the acceptance of digital health solutions and strengthen digital sovereignty. This will transform citizens from passive recipients of services to active partners in the healthcare system.”
The primary healthcare market, which encompasses “classical” healthcare, is highly regulated and fragmented. The secondary healthcare market includes individual health services, wellness programs and fitness trackers. Until now, the two areas have existed side by side without any links between them. By bringing together data from the primary and secondary health markets in the Gaia-X cloud in compliance with European regulations, HEALTH-X will now enable both areas to jointly use health data in a secure and trusted manner in the European Health Data Space. Citizens will be able to share their health data with doctors or caregivers in a self-determined way, make them available to third parties such as research institutions, and use them for their own health purposes at any time.
Personalized healthcare stands to benefit greatly
Self-tracking data in the secondary healthcare market will be linked to new, more comprehensive approaches to diagnosis, therapy and care. HEALTH-X dataLOFT will use this linked data infrastructure to carry out various clinical and medical case studies (“use cases”) in highly relevant areas of the health sector that will greatly benefit the emergence of personalized healthcare. Furthermore, the connection of the two healthcare markets stands to open up completely new commercialization avenues, new healthcare services and new financing models by involving all stakeholders from healthcare, health services, industry and science.
HEALTH-X involves a total of 14 partners from across Germany. They include research institutions such as the BIH, the Hasso Plattner Institute, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft institutes, numerous companies from the medical technology sector, start-ups and SMEs from the healthcare sector, as well as cloud and IT companies from Europe and the United States.
About Gaia-X (information from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research)
Through the European initiative Gaia-X, Europe is strengthening its data sovereignty. Gaia-X is a joint European project: it brings together people from different business sectors and scientific disciplines with representatives from administrative and policymaking institutions to work towards a common goal. Gaia-X is laying the groundwork for the next generation of data infrastructure: an open, transparent and secure digital ecosystem that meets the highest requirements for digital sovereignty. Data spaces that were previously separate will be linked, and measures will be implemented to promote the further development of data spaces. Data can be made available, exchanged and shared via Gaia-X in a secure and confidential environment. Data owners retain control over their data, deciding where it is stored and for what purposes it may be used.
Europe is taking its own path by establishing networked systems that do not rely on a single centralized European cloud. Based on the idea of a “European single market of knowledge,” a product and service portfolio of cloud and infrastructure providers is emerging. Gaia-X aims to connect a multitude of individual, decentralized platforms by having them all follow a common standard – the Gaia-X standard. The Gaia-X ecosystem is based on the values of openness, transparency and trust. The networked system of multiple cloud providers is committed to a transparent open source approach and to interoperability. Interoperability means that different systems work together as seamlessly as possible, preventing in particular dependencies on individual hardware, software or cloud providers.
About the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH)
The mission of the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH) is medical translation: transferring biomedical research findings into novel approaches to personalized prediction, prevention, diagnostics and therapies and, conversely, using clinical observations to develop new research ideas. The approximately 400 staff members strive to deliver relevant medical benefits to patients and the population at large. As the translational research unit within Charité, the BIH is also committed to establishing a comprehensive translational ecosystem – one that places emphasis on a system-wide understanding of health and disease and that promotes change in the biomedical translational research culture. The BIH was founded in 2013 and is funded 90 percent by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and 10 percent by the State of Berlin. The founding institutions, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), were independent member entities within the BIH until 2020. Since 2021 the BIH has been integrated into Charité as its so-called third pillar. The MDC is now the Privileged Partner of the BIH.