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Getting interested in digital data platforms? OPEN DEI’s most interesting findings for people in health and care have been brought together in quicker-to-read summaries than the full position papers. In particular, there are many lessons to learn on the Internet of Things from other sectors!

What did OPEN DEI do?

A major European Union (EU) policy objective is to develop European IT leadership. A core focus area is data platforms. The common data platforms are based on a unified architecture and established standards.

One means of achieving such leadership is to stimulate platforms that are cross-domain (and not sector-specific). The OPEN DEI project was launched with this specific objective in mind: it has concentrated on four key fields.


Healthcare is one of OPEN DEI’s four key fields for digitisation of the European Union – others include agriculture, energy, and manufacturing. Among the project’s core activities were the alignment of reference architectures, open platforms, and large-scale pilots. Covered were the detection of gaps, encouragement of synergies, support for regional and national cooperation, and the enhancement of communication among the Innovation Actions implementing the EU Digital Transformation strategy.

Many learnings resulted from the project. Several task forces and working groups were at the basis of these learnings. In OPEN DEI, EHTEL acted as the ambassador for health and care. A health and care cluster brought together many health-related large-scale pilot activities.

OPEN DEI encapsulated its findings in several position papers. All are available on the OPEN DEI website. For health and care digital enthusiasts, two reports have been in EHTEL’s 2022 focus. One looks mostly at reference architectures, another at the uptake of digital platforms in health and care. They were published in May and September 2022. Have a look at the Resources section below, where you can download and read the two EHTEL reading notes.

open dei white paper

Reference architectures and interoperability

The OPEN DEI position paper entitled “Reference Architectures and Interoperability in Digital Platforms” describes:

  • Digital platforms
  • Reference architectures (models and frameworks)
  • Several approaches for modelling interoperability challenges
  • The Internet of Things is included among a variety of interesting topics e.g., trustworthiness, digital identity, and digital governance. All are relevant to healthcare, even if they are not healthcare-specific.


One key message on the Internet of Things (IoT) comes from the work undertaken by the Create IoT project, which the cluster references. The experts proposed that the CREATE-IoT 3D RAM model act as a standard Reference Architecture Model (RAM), to be used in future digital healthcare projects and any Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) projects.

In direct relation to health and care, the OPEN DEI health and care cluster came up with several recommendations:

  • Digital platforms selection/development should be technology-agnostic
  • System stakeholders involve at least five types
  • Fundamental concerns include at least six (e.g., risks, maintainability, evolution)
  • On architecture, a rationale needs to be provided for each important architecture decision.


Digital platforms – barriers and drivers to uptake

International management consultancy, Roland Berger produced this 2020 report: “Future of health 2 / The rise of healthcare platforms”. The report described four different types of platforms, including in healthcare, and explored how they might develop over the five-year period until 2025. OPEN DEI’s own analysis of the barriers and drivers for the uptake of digital platforms in Europe focused on digital ecosystems, especially in fields such as life sciences and healthcare. It explored what kinds of shifts and scaling-up will occur. Digitally-enabled healthcare ecosystem(s), of course, have concrete technology foundations. Data is seen as being at the core of any healthcare ecosystem. For this reason, many European governments are setting up health data hubs.

OPEN DEI worked on several strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analyses of the role that digital platforms will play in digital transformation. Several “cross-domain” commonalities were perceived for the adoption of digital platforms. One key opportunity arose: the COVID-19 pandemic acted as an accelerator for greater platform adoption in many field, including – of course – in health and care.

The OPEN DEI project came to a close at the end of 2022. Yet, the project’s important findings, positions taken, and recommendations are sure to live on, especially for the healthcare sector. EHTEL is keen to see the cross-domain messages taken up, and fields like the Internet of Things explored.

More info about OPEN DEI in general is available.


  • Reference Architectures and Interoperability in Digital Platforms - EHTEL Reading notes 16 February 2023 EHTEL PDF*
  • Digital platforms and digital ecosystems in healthcare - EHTEL Reading notes 16 February 2023 EHTEL PDF*

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