CRS4 contributes to the international openEHR COVID-19 project

The ability to share clinical information effectively among health professionals and researchers has a strong impact on the definition and application of successful therapeutic approaches. It is therefore essential to have all the data available in a digital format, defined according to specifications that make them comparable, aggregable and analyzable. In this way it’s possible to extract useful information for patient care or to support the scientific research progress, regardless of where and by whom data have been generated. The urgency of clinical data sharing becomes even more apparent during a global disease outbreak, such as the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

The openEHR community, of which CRS4 has been an important part for over 10 years, is one of the main international institutions active in this sector. Through the definition, development and release of open source technical specifications, software tools and computable models, the openEHR community aims to radically change the quality of IT at the service of medicine, so as to improve healthcare outcomes, public health and the value of the secondary use of data.

By actively participating in the international openEHR COVID-19 initiative, the Data-intensive Computing Sector at CRS4 renovates its efforts in creating data models and tools to support the improvement of diagnosis and treatment procedures. This project specifically aims to rapidly develop software applications for the collection, management and analysis of screening data related to the health emergency caused by Coronavirus.

Within the COVID-19 Project, in fact, domain and modeling experts have built data models to describe the most important parameters to be collected for the effective screening of this disease, while software developers from the community's industrial partners (DIPS, Better, OpusVL, Inpeco, etc.) have harnessed the power of openEHR formalism to rapidly build prototype clinical applications from these models.

All models are already available as open source in the official repository of the community, the Clinical Knowledge Manager (CKM), and some companies have already released their applications in open source.

CRS4's contribution to this initiative focused on the translation and adaptation of the models for the Italian context: these models, the first in Italian in the CKM, are currently 21, but the number will increase as the project progresses.

The open and collaborative approach of the project is at the core of the modus operandi of the openEHR community and will allow, at the same time, both to use detailed and structured data in specific national use cases and to share them in international projects, such as epidemiological studies at a European scale, without losing the semantic content as the context in which they are analyzed change.

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