The Swiss Personalised Health Network (SPHN) is an initiative of the Swiss government that aims to provide a framework for exchanging health and health-related data in an interoperable way for research. Except for some coding systems used for patient billing and accounting, there are not currently few nationally adopted and implemented standards for medical information in hospitals. To enable the use of health data from clinical routine and other sources for research, SPHN has developed a semantic interoperability strategy. The framework for this strategy is built on three pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Semantic representation,

  • Pillar 2: Data transport and storage, and

  • Pillar 3: Use cases.

DCC semantic interoperability

To this end, the Data Coordination Center (DCC) has promoted the development of the SPHN Dataset. This dataset semantically defines medical and health-related concepts used in health research in Switzerland (Pillar 1). The format chosen to enable the storage and exchange of the data is RDF (Resource Description Framework) (Pillar 2). RDF should enable an easier transportation, sharing and use of medical knowledge between hospitals and researchers. Therefore, the SPHN ontology is defined in an RDF schema that indicates the concepts and rules to follow for generating a structured knowledge graph of the clinical datasets following the FAIR principles.

To find out more about the SPHN Semantic Strategy watch the seminar on Linked data in SPHN