On the 4th and 5th of August, EHDEN organised a virtual certification meeting, inviting a first group of 10 European SMEs out of the 15 that were selected during our open call for SMEs in February. During these 2 days, these SMEs were certified by EHDEN for their knowledge on standardising health data to the OMOP common data model (CDM) and the installation of the technical infrastructure.
These SMEs started their learning journey in April when they were invited to follow the SME curriculum in the EHDEN Academy, our online, free and publicly available learning platform. The SME curriculum consists of 5 courses, training them in all necessary skills to work with the EHDEN Data partners in harmonising their health data to the OMOP CDM: EHDEN Foundation / OHDSI-in-a-box / OMOP CDM & Standardized vocabularies / Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process / OHDSI Infrastructure.
Following completion of this curriculum, 45 participants from across these 10 SMEs joined our EHDEN team for a 2-day certification meeting. The meeting was facilitated via MS Teams, allowing us to overcome the challenges of running such a large workshop virtually. We had set up different channels for the plenary sessions, to ask questions, for the group exercises and a channel per SME. In doing so, we covered the 3 main blocks of content during these 2 days: Plenary sessions, exercises in randomly assigned groups and a mapping exercise per SME.
The first day of the meeting started with Peter Rijnbeek (Associate professor, Erasmus MC (NL)) and Patrick Ryan (Assistant professor, Columbia University Medical Centre (US) and Vice President of Observational Health Data Analytics at Janssen Research and Development) reiterating that EHDEN aims to build a community of both certified SMEs and data partners in Europe, to generate reliable evidence for the benefit of patients. Throughout these plenary sessions, it was clear that SMEs are considered a cornerstone of this EU community, as their expertise will be an enabling factor in real world evidence generation at scale.
To stimulate collaboration between SMEs, the afternoon of the first day consisted of two exercises for which the participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 8 groups. The first exercise had each group investigating the scan report of a dataset called “Frankenstein”. This fictional dataset was full of examples of potential problems one might encounter when defining an ETL (Extraction Transform Load) procedure and groups were tasked to identify and discuss these problems. In the second exercise, the groups were asked to map certain parts of this database to the OMOP CDM.
On the 2nd day, the process of defining and implementing an ETL for a data source was emulated. First, the participants received an overview of the Integrated Primary Care Information (IPCI) database by the IPCI data specialist, Marcel de Wilde (Erasmus MC (NL)). Each SME had access to a simulated version of the IPCI database in a Virtual Machine using Amazon Web Services. The SMEs then had to define the mapping logic and start the implementation of the ETL in SQL code.
At the end of the second day, each SME received their EHDEN certificate. More information on these newly certified SMEs will soon become available in our online Service Provider Directory, which is a catalogue listing all EHDEN Certified SMEs and the potential services they can offer. The EHDEN project will provide further support to these SMEs in future mapping exercises for Data Partners that received financial support through our open calls. Additionally, EHDEN will continue to build and strengthen this community via monthly update calls, an SME forum where experiences and knowledge can be shared, etc. to further strengthen this collaboration.
We want to congratulate all 10 SMEs on becoming EHDEN certified SMEs and look forward to certifying the remaining 5 SMEs later this year.