Leveraging the European Data Spaces: Empowering SMEs Innovation in e-Health

The DIGITAL SME, the European Commission, and organisations active in the Data and e-Health sector met online and discussed the convergence between data spaces and the e-Health sector, and the resulting challenges and opportunities for SMEs:

  • How can Data Spaces support the digitalisation of vertical sectors  (specifically in healthcare)?

  • What are the main challenges/roadblocks that SMEs are facing in employing health data?

  • How are the European Commission and programmes and initiatives helping SMEs to harness the potential  of healthcare data and enabling innovation?

The EU has made significant investments to support the research and innovation in the data sector, as well as to kick-start the first European Health Data Space.   It is estimated that health data reuse is already worth around 25-30 billion € annually, and this number is expected to reach around 50 billion € in the next 10 years. As such, it envisions immense opportunities for SMEs to offer their digital solutions and contribute to a more efficient and resilient healthcare ecosystem in Europe. The European Health Data Space is only one of the tools which is being created to help SMEs accessing and harnessing healthcare data, while a number of other initiatives,such as European Digital Innovation Hubs, also support SMEs on the way.

The event was a great opportunity to gain valuable insights on the challenges that SMEs are facing and how Data Spaces will enable the digital transformation of the healthcare sector.

To address these questions, the event hosted expert speakers including Fulvia Raffaelli, Head of Unit Digital Health (DG SANTE, European Commission), and Bert Verdonck, Lead of the Luxembourg National Data Service, as well as stakeholders from the European Digital Innovation Hubs, the Health Data Hub, the European Local and Regional Health Authorities and, of course, the SME community.

The event was organized within the framework of the EUH4D SME Roadshow, a brand developed by DIGITAL SME and the project to engage SMEs. This ongoing series of events and meetings aim to introduce the project’s objectives to SMEs, notably linking and establishing collaboration among existing initiatives in the domain of Big Data, provide updates on project progress, and foster a user-driven community.

In addition, through the SHIFT-HUB project, DIGITAL SME is supporting the creation of a pan-European Smart Health Innovation Hub, to foster the uptake of Smart health Technologies and services. The project is developing a comprehensive service offer, integrating networking and matchmaking, and guidance for accessing funding.

Stakeholders in the Healthcare sector and SMEs willing to know more on how to apply their digital solutions to the e-Health sector are most welcome to join the growing  e-Health Community. The Community Members will also be the first to be informed and on-boarded for the upcoming of DIGITAL SME Focus Group on e-Health.

Full recording of the event


Moderator: Justina Bieliauskaite, Innovation Director at European DIGITAL SME Alliance


Welcome and introduction

Antonio Grasso, Public Affairs Director at European DIGITAL SME Alliance


Keynote: European Healthcare Innovation and Health Data Space

Fulvia Raffaelli, Head of Unit Digital Health, DG SANTE, European Commission


The role of EDIHs and Data Spaces

  • Bert Verdonck, Lead of the Luxembourg National Data Service
  • Mario Jendrossek, European Projects Lead at Health Data Hub
  • Paula Comanescu, SMEs Expert CLUJ IT Cluster


The main challenges and opportunities for SMEs in healthcare sector

  • Zilda Mendes, Deputy Director – HiCorr project Infosaude CEFAR – Centre for Health Evaluation & Research
  • Flemming Sveen, Managing Director at Halify AS


SHIFT-HUB’s services offer for SMEs 

  • Paul Stefanut, Co-founder and President of Booster Labs


Concluding remarks and wrap-up