During the first week of June 2017, the European Medical Information Framework (EMIF) took the next step in fulfilling its mission of improving the identification, access and assessment, and the (re)use of health data. Following the launch of the EMIF Alzheimer’s disease (AD) Catalogue (https://emif-catalogue.eu/) back in January 2017, the next phase was initiated as the ‘Alzheimer’s disease cohort explorer’ has reached user testing and a public launch is expected to occur early 2018.The AD cohort explorer allows AD data cohorts to map their data to a harmonized data template, called the Switchbox. The latter allows to query these harmonized AD data cohorts at a group level, via the included subject and variable selection tools. As a side note, it is important to stress that single subject data will never be visible. The subject and variable selection tools in the AD cohort explorer thus allow researchers to identify AD data cohorts suitable for their research, and facilitates the initiation of new collaborations with these AD cohorts.

For the AD cohorts participating in EMIF, the benefit of mapping their data to this Switchbox is 2-fold. First, it increases the AD data cohort’s visibility and thus promotes new research and grant collaborations. At the same time, the Switchbox makes the AD data cohorts a more attractive project partner due to the inherent harmonization with other data sources, supporting other IMI projects and AD research platforms.

As the AD cohort explorer is now being evaluated, the first AD cohorts have started to map their data to the Switchbox. However, the strength of the platform will be determined by the number of AD cohorts willing to participate. As such, we want to reach out to all researchers interested in using the platform, and most importantly, to all AD data cohort owners which are willing to unlock the full potential of their data via collaborating in the EMIF platform.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us for more information (Jelle Praet: jpraet1@its.jnj.com).