A “context broker” API financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)
The system, which is now being actively used by Italian authorities, provides the technical capabilities needed to turn widely collected data into real-time patient tracking, contagion maps, and predictive analyses.
The CEF is a financial EU instrument launched in 2013. Its aim is to efficiently interconnect high performing and sustainable trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy, and digital services. The CEF facilitates cross-border interaction between public administrations, businesses, and citizens, including in the healthcare domain. The CEF has developed a number of basic building blocks – frameworks, standards, software, or software as a service (SaaS) – deemed necessary for national or cross-border transactions. It is up to authorities or companies involved to decide if they want to use the component directly or develop/adapt it. The CEF also provides a testing environment and support services.
eIdentity (EiD) and eSignature were among the first CEF building blocks developed to support cross-border e-Prescriptions and Patient Summaries. Other building blocks were more related to the need to facilitate a new data-driven economy. Examples include e-invoicing, e-delivery, blockchain, and big data.
The availability of these building blocks offers a major step towards the creation of a European Data Space, including the European Health Data Space(s), highlighted by the 2020 European Commission Communication.
What does a context broker do? A context broker typically brings together data originating from different systems. For example, this context broker enables the use of Internet of Things data to prevent hostile behaviour and noise pollution on a bustling street in the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. If done in the right way with the right context, it can produce richer insights into the situation on the street and help citizens and administrations make informed decisions. Examples could include the air quality on the street or whether a citizen has been exposed to a specific risk (such as an infectious disease). This CEF-created API can integrate data from multiple systems and create a holistic view of the information gathered.