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Health data

RatSWD Working Group in the 8th appointment period (2023-2026)

Health data have become increasingly focused by the public, research and policy makers in recent years. This became particularly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health data is crucial for monitoring and controlling diseases and disease outbreaks and researching social and economic mechanisms related to health and disease as well as social and economic aspects of healthcare.

The spectrum of data is diverse: billing data from statutory health insurance associations, large cohort studies, data from health apps and wearables as well as data from various registers etc. are of great importance not only for traditional medical research but also for social science disciplines and enable medical and scientific progress in the healthcare sector. The interdisciplinary use of this data also has a high impact on the research landscape in Germany. By analysing large data sets, trends or risk factors can be identified, preventive measures can be taken and patient care can be improved. Early intervention and prevention can help to prevent diseases and, as a result, increase the efficiency of the healthcare system while reducing costs for the healthcare system.

The linkage of this data, data access in different disciplines as well as data protection and IT security issues pose a major challenge. A high level of specialist knowledge as well as specialist and human resources and the corresponding technical infrastructure are essential. The RatSWD working group aims to provide support by, among other things, highlighting the potential of health data for the disciplines represented in the RatSWD, networking stakeholders, organizing workshops with representatives from science, administration and politics or preparing RatSWD working papers on the standardised handling of health data.

Output: Handout for researchers on health data, published as part of the RatSWD Output Series; statements to policymakers and networking with relevant stakeholders through a workshop.