Main challenge in digital health is data protection: Interview to Carme Pratdepadua, member of PULSE

Carme Pratdepàdua holds a B.Sc in Industrial Engineering and a Master’s degree in training secondary school, vocational training and language teachers by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.

She has more than 10 years of experience in leading projects in the technological sector, and for more than six years working in health projects. Ms Pratdepadua is specialised in certification processes for mobile applications and ICT tools, which allow us to promote interoperability between information systems, guarantee compliance with standards (i.e. HL7, DICOM) and controlled vocabularies (i.e. SNOMED CT, CIM-10-MC).

Currently leads the mHealth area at Fundació TIC Salut Social, which aims to promote the use of mobile technologies across the Catalan healthcare sector, and one of its strategies is the development of the mHealth Hub: an accreditation model for health-related mobile applications to guarantee the functionality and accuracy of its content, both for patients and health professionals.

Which do you think is the role of Big Data in Healthcare and urban Policies?

There is a growing interest for data analytics the potential usefulness in transforming personal care, clinical care and public health, paying special attention to the integration of the social care and healthcare.The use of big data allows a more efficient use of the resources with an improvement in the process streamlining.

By encouraging patients to participate in their own care, delivering personalized information and integrating medicine data with behavioural aspects, the diagnosis improve and the citizen is empowered being more conscious of his/her health through the data monitoring.

Main challenge is data protection. Policymakers need to consider how to reshape national policies to advance in the field of health-related use of big data, while the public is reassured that security measures are mandated and enforced, keeping such data confidential, private and secure. Legal aspects of the use of date in health lag behind the reality.

Which are the five elements that should be considered to ensure that innovations implemented as part of PULSE solution can and will be effectively up taken in the market?

  1. USER EXPERIENCE is a must, bearing in mind that the app should be easy to use and a complex guide or thorough explanations are not needed. 

  2. IDENTIFIED NEED. The solution should cover an already identified need and provide to the consumer a high added value.

  3. INNOVATIVE: It has to be different to the existing solutions or deliver different outcomes and in order to achieve it, a thorough market research is needed.

  4. SPECIALISED: The solutions must address specific aspects and not pretend to offer too many services. Provide a specialised solution instead of a big range of services which can overwhelm the end user is better.

  5. RELIABILITY AND TRUST: The user, patient or citizen, has to be informed about who has develop the solution, the public and private institutions that have been involved in the development of the solution, what happens if the application it is not adequately used, etc.

 Who do you think would be interested to use/exploit the results (models, technologies and tools) developed within PULSE project?

I believe that the solution that Pulse project will provide to citizens will provide a significant value to those healthcare institutions be interested in improve the follow-up of their patients through using big data, as well as for government institutions to define new policies related to improve the wellbeing ecosystem of the citizens in a specific region. Through the results of PULSE project these institutions will have a more holistic vision of patients and these data provided through the project will help professionals in clinical decision making.


“Main challenge is data protection. Policymakers need to consider how to reshape national policies to advance in the field of health-related use of big data”

“Provide a holistic vision of the patient using big data facilitates professionals in clinical decision making”


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No GA727816.

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