Written By :

Category :

Data Space

Posted On :

Share This :

Data spaces explained simply

Last time I traveled to Lisbon, I forgot my contraceptive pill. When my alarm rang at 21:00 to remind me to take it, I realized that it was nowhere to be found… Luckily 15 min away, a pharmacy was still open for half an hour. I rushed to arrive on time but to my utmost surprise, the female pharmacist refused to deliver me my pill, with the good reason that without a prescription, she could not legally deliver it to me. The way I got out of this situation is of no interest for this article, but It left me wondering why I was not able to prove to my unhelpful pharmacist that I did have a legit prescription for my contraceptive pill issued by a certified doctor in Paris…

prescription, Let’s dream a perfect health system : Data spaces explained simply, let's do it!

Let’s dream a perfect health system

prescription, Let’s dream a perfect health system : Data spaces explained simply, let's do it!

As a thought experiment, I imagined what I wish my experience had been on that stressful day. Back to my hotel room! It’s 21:00, my alarm rings to remind me to take the pill, and I realize that I’ve forgotten it in Paris. I open my health mobile app where all my health history is recorded: my stays in hospitals, my doctors appointments, my prescriptions, my blood type, my allergies, my chronic diseases… I quickly find my contraceptive pill prescription, and the app helps me to find the closest pharmacy that is still open where this specific pill is available. I pre-order it. The pharmacist receives a notification of my order and is able to verify that my prescription is issued by a certified French doctor. She validates the order and prepares it. I pay online and walk to the pharmacy to collect it before it closes. This purchase is logged into my health application, if I need to access it at a later date.

prescription, Let’s dream a perfect health system : Data spaces explained simply, let's do it!

Let’s make it happen!

Let’s stop dreaming: let’s do it!

To make it easier to move from our dream to reality, let’s simplify our dream. What I would have loved to convince my pharmacist of is that I do have a legitimate prescription in my room in Paris, issued by a certified French doctor. Let’s focus on the prescription to start with.

Never without my prescription

In my dream, my prescription is not a piece of paper that I can lose or forget. It’s a right, issued to me by my doctors, to gain access to a medicine that I need. This right is mine, and it should travel with me everywhere that I go. When one of my doctors issues a prescription on her system, it should automatically be shared with me and appear in my health application, so I can show it to my pharmacist.

As I have several doctors: a generalist practitioner, a gynecologist and a pulmonologist, my health application needs to be able to connect to their system in a standardized way, they need to speak a common language.

Because the systems of my different doctors use a common language, my application is able to interact with them, to access my prescriptions for instance.

My health app is therefore able to access all my prescriptions from the systems of my certified doctors. I can grant access to my pharmacist, so she can also access the one prescribing my pill. She can now access my prescription by herself in her system and deliver me my medicine.

We will call it a Data Space

When the different information systems of my doctors and my pharmacist are compatible and can exchange data, we have a special word for it, we say they are interoperable. And when an ecosystem of interoperable systems is open for others to join, is following a language that any organization can use, is promoting the autonomy of its participants and the security of the data being accessed, we call it a data space

prescription, Let’s dream a perfect health system : Data spaces explained simply, let's do it!

In our example here, we are designing a data space dedicated to heath, or a health data space, in which doctors, pharmacies and patients are able to share data with one another in a way that is controlled by the patient. Of course, we are over simplifying here. We are not talking about contracts to access the data, authentication to login as a pharmacist or a doctor, access permissions to access a specific prescription, governance about how to express a specific piece of data, how to host the data securely, how to find it. But… you get the idea. A Data Space is a way for different organizations to exchange data, it will enable my doctor to talk to my pharmacist, and it will improve my experience as a patient and distracted traveler. It is not limited to the health sector, Data Spaces exist in many different industries: transport, food, media, manufacturing…

prescription, Let’s dream a perfect health system : Data spaces explained simply, let's do it!

What is Startin’blox?

prescription, Let’s dream a perfect health system : Data spaces explained simply, let's do it!

The doctor who creates a prescription and the pharmacist and patient who accesses it uses an application. Startin’blox is the best technology to build such an application, i.e. one that is compatible with your Data Space. Startin’blox applications are: 

  • Easy to develop
  • Enable data discoverability, e.g. we help the pharmacist to find the right prescription on the system of the right doctor
  • Foster data usability, e.g. we enable the patient to use her data to gain access to her medicine
  • Encourage trust, e.g. we certify to the pharmacist that the prescription is legit and issued by a certified French doctor
  • Valorize data, e.g. we could imagine the pharmacist to upsell the patient by understanding better the patient in front of her

Wrapping up

That’s it! Now you know it all about Data Spaces, almost. If the topic is of interest to you, feel free to reach out at alex@startinblox.com. You’ll be well received! 

Have a great day!