Up to 50% of European adults search online for health information, underlining the need for accurate information on diseases and therapies, as well as to personal health data. The same is true on the research side, where access to wide sets of health data for scientific purposes is vital for making progress in areas such as clinical trials and drugs safety.

Good use of data has become a key asset for the improvement of our society. Access to healthcare data helps researchers to produce more accurate, faster tests on medicines to be launched on the market. New drugs undergo extensive trials prior to authorisation. Once they are on the market, clinicians are responsible for recognising and reporting suspected side effects. However, a number of recent drug safety issues have shown that adverse side-effects may be detected too late, when millions of patients have already been exposed.

The EU-ADR project exploits advanced ICT to develop new ways of using existing clinical and biomedical data sources to detect Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) as early as possible. The project uses the anonymous electronic healthcare records of more than thirty million European citizens. The EU-ADR integrated platform has already been successfully used in other projects to assess the relationships between classes of specific drugs and specific adverse events. It is at the heart of the EU-ADR Alliance, a European collaboration framework for running drug safety studies.

In the same area, the Linked2Safety project seeks to give researchers, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies homogenous and effective access to the enormous amount of medical information contained in the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) developed and maintained across Europe. Increasing the knowledge-base for researchers and practitioners will help to advance clinical practice and medical research on adverse events in clinical trials, while patients will enjoy greater safety thanks to earlier detection of side effects.

More information on the use of data and of improving the handling of Big Data is available on the Data section of our website.

6 December 2012
Last update: 
9 May 2017
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