Organized by:
Mickael Misbach,
Jean Louis Raisaro,
João Sá,
Juan Ramón Troncoso-Pastoriza.

DPPH (Data Protection in Personalized Health) is a PHRT-funded project that seeks to address the main scalability, privacy, security and ethical challenges of data sharing for enabling effective P4 medicine, by defining an optimal balance between usability, scalability and data protection, and deploying an appropriate set of computing tools to make it happen. The target result of the project will be a platform composed of software packages that seamlessly enable clinical and genomic data sharing and exploitation across a federation of medical institutions, hospitals and research laboratories across Switzerland in a scalable, secure, responsible and privacy-conscious way, and that integrates widespread cohort exploration tools such as i2b2, TranSMART or SHRINE.

The first tangible outcome of the project aims at a small-scale deployment of a privacy-conscious data sharing platform across a small number of Swiss hospitals during the first year. Under the umbrella of the project, and aligned to this target outcome, LCA1 held the first “i2b2/MedCo Technical Workshop” on January 17th.

The workshop was meant to raise awareness of the privacy and confidentiality challenges in medical data sharing, while showing the available tools for privacy conscious data sharing, a comprehensive documentation for all of them, and packaging these tools in a easy-to-deploy manner with Docker. Consequently, hospitals can rapidly test them and produce meaningful and targeted requirements that will set the grounds on which the upcoming developments in DPPH will be built. The workshop covered the architectural and deployment aspects of i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) and SHRINE (Shared Health Research Informatics NEtwork), cohort exploration and data sharing tools developed at Harvard Medical School and used at more than 200 hospitals in the United States and Europe. Additionally, the workshop also featured the fundamentals on cryptographic protection mechanisms and the architecture and deployment of MedCo, a system developed by LCA1/DEDIS to enable privacy-conscious cohort exploration.

Six members from four Swiss hospitals (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois at Lausanne, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève at Geneva, Universitätsspital Basel, and Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale at Bellinzona) attended the meeting, and provided very positive initial feedback on the privacy-conscious cohort-exploration prototype and the tools and documentation produced for the workshop.

This is the first initial step in the long-term target of DPPH to produce innovative technical solutions to many privacy-related issues in close collaboration with clinicians, medical researchers and hospital IT specialists in various clinical settings, and provide the personalized health community with optimal resources to perform cutting-edge research in an ethical and privacy-conscious way.