Yearb Med Inform 2017; 26(01): 323-325
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1606518
National Contribution
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart

Innovation in Health Informatics Conference in Spain: Conclusions on the Responsibility to Use Patient Data and Big Data Methods to Improve Healthcare

C. L. Parra-Calderón
1  Spanish Society of Health Informatics, Madrid, Spain
G. Gómez-Soriano
1  Spanish Society of Health Informatics, Madrid, Spain
J. Galván-Romo
1  Spanish Society of Health Informatics, Madrid, Spain
L. Sáez-Ayerra
1  Spanish Society of Health Informatics, Madrid, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
19 August 2017 (online)



For 23 years, the Spanish Society of Health Informatics (SEIS) has organized a yearly conference including workshops, debate sessions, and lectures on a given health informatics topic with the objective of discussing, obtaining consensus, and producing a synthesis on the chosen topic. This conference gathers health informatics professionals from the industrial sector, public and private health providers, researchers, and innovators, all of them being related to the selected topic.

In Spain, since more than a decade, most of the public and private health care providers are using health information systems with a high degree of adoption, which has generated an enormous amount of digitized health data. The quality of such data can be very disparate being rarely represented using standards, but its volume is so high that the application of Big Data methods to search for patterns and regularities that could have an impact to improve health and healthcare is an opportunity that cannot be discarded.

Non-specialized media frequently address the issues related to patient data re-use with a lack of rigor, stimulating a controversy that puts the focus on ethical and defensive aspects and does not mention the possible benefits of using patient health data in the scientific and social fields. Besides, this information is frequently pointing out how suspicious any attempt to reuse health information could be, emphasizing the possible threats against personal data protection.

Big Data in Health is still not operating, but it continues to grow, surely, to conceal very useful knowledge about long-term effects of medicines, lifestyle, and health interventions [[1]]. SEIS considers that we should take advantage of the asset that Big Data in Health represents. Not doing so entails a great responsibility of the Spanish Health System that someday stakeholders can question.

Among the events that our society organizes every year, we decided to address this topic in the 2016 SEIS conference, usually dedicated to analyzing trends and challenges of a subject, with a systematized methodology, differentiated from other conventional scientific conferences organized by SEIS.