Big data and data standards in audiology

Authors: Mareike Buhl1, Razan Charlotte Vercammen2,3,4, Markus Meis4, Mahmoud Hammady5, Mostafa Youssif5, Sophia E. Kramer6, Kirsten Wagener1,2

1Center for Research and Innovation in Human Audiology (CERIAH), Institut de l’Audition, Institut Pasteur
2Sonova AG
3Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafnes
4Department of Neurosciences, Research Group Experimental Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

Large data repositories provide a lot of potential for audiological diagnostics and the recommendation of hearing devices. To date, a large variety of data is collected in clinical as well as research settings, including studies with large numbers of patients. These data are typically collected in local databases, exhibiting different data structure, choice of tests, or varying data quality. If these data were analyzed together, knowledge about many patients worldwide could be exploited to obtain a representative overview of existing patient patterns; clinical data could be linked to data from population-based studies or health insurance databases; and targeted artificial intelligence (AI) methods could reveal new insights, for example estimating distinct patient profiles that show common combinations of test outcomes, satisfaction with hearing care, hearing aid benefit, or suggesting additional tests for those patients whose hearing deficits are not yet characterized in sufficient detail.

For exchanging data across institutions, or combining data from different data sources for analysis, the definition of data standards is crucial. A recently started community initiative (in the context of a European Federation of Audiological Societies (EFAS) working group) is based on the openEHR approach, which aims to achieve interoperability between databases by separating information and knowledge, through so-called archetypes and templates.

This session aims to assess the state-of-the-art of data standards available in audiology, and to discuss its potential, challenges, and required steps towards successful standardization. In the featured talk, we will introduce the openEHR approach, and discuss input from the VCCA community (collected by a survey conducted before). In the second part, we will have a panel discussion with experts offering their perspectives from audiology, data science/artificial intelligence, and database infrastructure such as electronic health records.