Enriching knowledge and enhancing care through health data

i~HD European Network of Excellence for Hospitals


  • Create a mutual support and shared learning community of hospitals wishing to accelerate their uses of health (EHR) data for clinical research and to become better learning health systems.
  • Develop and deliver education, good practices and tools (such as data quality improvement measures) that maximise their capability to reuse their health data.
  • Develop and promote good governance practices to enable trustworthy internal and external reuse of hospital EHR data for knowledge discovery.
  • Help hospitals to optimise the ways in which they use and benefit from their EHR systems.
  • Support hospitals with demonstrating the value to themselves and to other stakeholders from good uses of their health data.


  • Geert Thienpont
  • Karl Wouters, Sensus Communications

The i~HD Network of Excellence Steering Committee

  • Dipak Kalra, i~HD, Belgium
  • Pascal Garel, HOPE, Belgium
  • Jacques Demote, ECRIN, France
  • John O’Brien, former hospital CEO, Ireland
  • Tine Lewi, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Belgium
  • Tony Amato, Executive Director, Clinical Trials Center, Policlinico Gemelli, Rome, Italy
  • Giuseppe Banfi, General Director, Fondazione Centro San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
  • Philippe Lechat, Director Clinical Research and Innovation, AP-HP, France
  • Patient organisation representative
  • Rocio Diaz, Fundacion de investigacion HM Hospitales, Spain
  • Juuso Blomster-Mäkinen, Turku University Hospital, Finland
  • Morten Kildal, Uppsala University Hosiptal, Sweden


The goal of this network is to support all European hospitals (and later, other care providers such as general practice) to collect health data of the highest possible quality, and to make the best use of that data internally (for patient care and for organisational quality improvement) and externally (supporting continuity of care, public health strategy and research that is publicly funded and industry sponsored). There are many barriers to achieving this goal and i~HD is developing some of the necessary solutions with special focus on data quality and information governance. The Network of Excellence is helping the hospitals to share practical approaches and benefits within the EHR reuse ecosystem, and advise i~HD on additional solutions that they need. Our hospital members also contribute their perspectives to i~HD multi-stakeholder activities. The hospital network was formally launched in February 2017, and is steered by a committee of hospital representatives and other advisers (listed above). The NoE has participated in a further workshop in May 2017 on data quality assessment and improvement. The Steering Committee has helped highlight other priorities for the NoE to focus on in 2018, including the GDPR, working with ICHOM on using EHR data to help improve outcomes, support for hospitals to make the best use of their EHR systems. The second annual workshop on outcomes and benefits realisation was held in March 2018.

Plans for 2018

  • Establish a library of outcomes relevant EHR data elements, and data quality benchmarks, to support hospital NoE members with sharing efforts towards measuring and improving clinical and patient outcomes.
  • Establish a library of business case studies demonstrating hospital benefits and return of investment from investments in EHR systems and EHR data quality, to support hospital NoE members with constructing future business cases.
  • Promote the new i~HD data quality service across the NoE.
  • Develop with hospitals a portfolio of guidance materials to support compliant practices in reusing EHRs for learning health systems and clinical research.
  • Pilot the formation and value of national hospital networks within the i~HD NoE, to enable and support a complementary focus on nationally relevant topics.

Achievements during 2017

  • Launch of the Hospital Network of Excellence at a workshop in Brussels on February 9th, for research-active and learning health system active hospitals across Europe.
  • Established a dedicated steering committee for this Network, comprising representatives from leading European hospitals, and including representatives from patient organisations and other hospital-oriented networks such as ECRIN, HOPE.
  • A second data quality workshop held in May 2017.
  • Established a collaboration with ICHOM to promote and support hospitals with using EHR data to measure and improve clinical and patient outcomes, leading to a 2-day workshop in March 2018.

Achievements during 2017

The European Network of Excellence for Hospitals is an established network of hospitals across Europe wishing to accelerate the use of health (EHR) data for clinical research and to become better learning health systems. There are still some barriers left in achieving these goals. Hence, this year’s focus was to further expand our network of European hospitals in order to establish a strong community. In order to achieve these goals, i~HD held a successful launch meeting in February 2017 attended by 50 hospitals (90 persons), and a follow up data quality workshop in May 2017. Hospital presentations featured in our annual conference in September 2017, and we are now planning a 2-day event on using health data to measure and improve clinical outcomes in early 2018. Further details will be published in January 2018.

Achievements during 2016

  • Detailed planning of the Hospital Network Workshop being held in February 2017.
  • Preparation of an ICT maturity and EHR use survey instrument.
  • Participation in learning health systems events and publications that showcase the broader value of health data to hospitals and other healthcare providers.