ETSI Project (EP) eHEALTH Activity Report 2019

Chair: Suno Wood, eG4U

Responsible for coordinating ETSI’s activities in the eHealth domain, identifying gaps where further standardization activities might be required and addressing those gaps which are not the responsibility of other ETSI bodies.

eHealth promises to improve the quality of healthcare, reduce costs and help to foster independent living. But the success of its implementation relies on the widespread digitization of all sectors of society and, although an increasing number of patients enjoy access services such as telecare and telemonitoring, the use of telemedicine is still very limited. One of the problems currently hindering the development of the ‘virtual’ clinic is a lack of interoperability. Standards therefore have a key role to play in assisting the development of new eHealth products and the growth of Telemedicine.

The role of our ETSI Project on eHEALTH covers these primary areas:

  • Collect and define Health ICT related requirements from relevant stakeholders, and input requirements to the concerned ETSI Technical Bodies
  • Identify gaps, where existing ETSI standards do not fulfil the Health ICT requirements, and suggest further standardization activities to fill those gaps
  • Develop Health ICT related deliverables in all areas not covered by existing system specific and horizontal Technical Bodies or other SDOs
  • Co-ordinate Health ICT related activities with other ETSI Technical Bodies (including SmartM2M, SmartBAN, CYBER, CIM, ERM and OEU) to avoid duplication of effort and deliverables
  • Co-ordinate activity with other European and international standards making bodies to avoid duplication of effort and deliverables
  • Represent ETSI positions externally on Health ICT related issues

In 2019, EP eHEALTH published its Technical Report [TR 103 477] on ‘Standardization use cases for eHealth’. The report presents several typical use cases in the eHealth domain and their analysis to identify gaps in standardization. This analysis covers aspects of link connectivity, network interconnectivity, semantic and syntactic interoperability, security (risks and provisions) and the existence of standards to meet each of these aspects. It also identifies the roles of various primary, secondary and tertiary actors in these use cases. The use case examples covered in the report draw on industry publications, completed FP7 and H2020 projects and the work of other ETSI Technical Bodies.

During the year a new Work Item was also launched to develop an ETSI Standard (ES 203 668) considering data recording requirements for eHealth. Its aim is to identify the requirements for recording eHealth events, specifically those from ICT-based eHealth devices and from health practitioners. As the TR on use cases suggests, health records are subject to security and privacy constraints, but at the same time need to be available to many different stakeholders across time and space without pre-cognition of who those stakeholders are.

The purpose of this new ES is to specify a normative framework for ensuring events/transactions related to a patient are recorded accurately (by devices or health professionals) and made available with minimum delay to any other health professional. The normative framework is intended to be adopted by other ETSI groups contributing to eHealth including OEU, ERM, CIM, CYBER, SmartM2M and SmartBAN.

During 2019 EP eHealth meanwhile continued its co-operation with these and other ETSI technical bodies in areas including IoT Security, Privacy, Safety and SAREF mapping to eHealth developments, as well as developing new eHealth use cases to identify gaps in standardization while cooperating with other ETSI groups.

The group also launched preliminary investigations into use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in eHealth applications. First outputs of this activity are anticipated in 2020.

Look out for in 2020 – eHEALTH work in progress

  • ES on data recording requirements for eHealth
  • Revision to TR on standardization use cases for eHealth