AWS Public Sector Blog

EHDEN Academy launches no-cost online school for global health studies

EHDEN AcademyThe EHDEN Academy is launching a no-cost online e-learning platform to train researchers on the mapping of patient data in the OMOP Common Data Model and the use of Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) tools to perform health analysis. It is a collaboration between European Health Data & Evidence Network (EHDEN) and OHDSI.

EHDEN, an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project, works to address the challenges in generating insights and evidence from real-world clinical data at scale to support patients, clinicians, payers, regulators, governments, and the pharmaceutical industry to understand wellbeing, disease, treatments, outcomes, and new therapeutics and devices. EHDEN is creating an EU-wide architecture for federated analyses of more than 100 million anonymized health records, now harmonized into the OMOP Common Data Model.

The EHDEN Academy is the global educational resource for those working with data to generate real-world evidence and outcomes research. The EHDEN Academy is open to the public to better support the need for technical expertise in Europe and abroad. The EHDEN Academy supports the initiatives of EHDEN, as well as enabling the growth of OMOP health data’s global footprint for broader analysis and insights into world health.


Being able to generate up-to-date health insights across global populations can positively impact world health. Imagine the improvements to wellness if it were possible to understand disease prevalence and treatment effectiveness across populations of millions or billions of people. But a myriad of electronic systems, data formats, languages, and coding systems make it difficult to consolidate health data in a meaningful way. Preserving patient privacy and respecting the national and local regulations adds complexity, as well.

An important part of the EHDEN ecosystem is the education and training of stakeholders, including academia, industry, heath technology assessment (HTA) bodies, payers, and regulators. EHDEN trains on environments created using the OHDSIonAWS and OHDSI-in-a-Box projects and automation developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IQVIA to deploy the OMOP Common Data Model and OHDSI tools.

EHDEN Academy architecture

As EHDEN gained momentum, in-person training sessions could no longer scale to meet the demand, and they created EHDEN Academy. The EHDEN Academy runs on AWS using an open-source learning platform called Moodle. The team got started by using an AWS Marketplace offering, which allowed them to deploy a working instance of Moodle with a single click. Moodle delivers the video lectures and hosts the discussion boards for EHDEN Academy students

But to get hands-on experience with the OMOP Common Data Model and OHDSI tools, students need lab environments. EHDEN used an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) of a lab system and automation to help users quickly deploy it into their own AWS account, called OHDSI-in-a-Box. The EHDEN Academy also uses Amazon CloudFront to help provide quick response times to students around the world.

OMOP and OHDSI – the foundations of EHDEN

Health data, even within Europe alone, is diverse. The complexity only increases when you include health data from around the globe. The OMOP Common Data Model was created for the purpose of storing patient health data originating from a plurality of sources. OMOP enables the consolidation of health data expressed in more than 100 different vocabularies, ontologies, and coding schemes by providing mappings between them. This simplifies the transformation process to bring new health data into OMOP.

Once data is in OMOP, you can run standardized analytics against the data. Users can write an analysis one time and then execute it across any number of OMOP data sources. EHDEN is using this foundational capability to build its data network in Europe. Because we can bring the analytics to the data, the patient health data can stay privately within owners’ control, only allowing users to see the anonymized output of their analysis.

Since it is possible to create generalized analytics against OMOP formatted data, the team developed the OHDSI toolset, a suite of open source tools. These tools include a range of common health analysis, from population characterization and cohort building to treatment pathway analysis and patient outcome prediction. OHDSI users can now build tools based on best practices and use well-known analysis techniques.


In 2019, EHDEN trained and certified 11 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Europe with a consistent extract, transform, load (ETL) methodology to the OMOP common data model (CDM). Meanwhile, 20 data partners (with approximately 170 million records) will initiate ETL work with certified SMEs. Research use cases and methodological development, inclusive of study-a-thons, are preparing the open science community to conduct observational research to impact today with modern tools.

The EHDEN Academy aims to be the leading global educational resource for those working with real world data to generate real world evidence and outcomes research. Opening the EHDEN Academy to the public to provide free education on OHDSI and OMOP is a step forward in supporting the growing need for global health studies. Learn more about the EHDEN Academy.


Peter Rijnbeek

Peter Rijnbeek

Peter Rijnbeek is associate professor health data science at the department of medical informatics of the Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is the coordinator of the European Health Data and Evidence Network (EHDEN) project. For more information see

James Wiggins

James Wiggins

James Wiggins leads the solutions architect team for United States academic medical centers at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He is passionate about using technology to help organizations positively impact world health. He also loves spending time with his wife and three children.