Guidance on how to de-identify health-related data in compliance with Swiss legislation


The de-identification of health-related data postulates one essential approach to protect patient privacy and is a prerequisite for data sharing among a broader research community. Even though there are international guidelines available concerning the de-identification of data, there is no hands-on guidance for the de-identification of health-related data specifically taking into account the Swiss law and data protection regulations.

The PHI Group has therefore launched the Data De-identification Project in October 2020. The recommendations were elaborated by the Data De-identification Project Task Force* in collaboration with additional Swiss university hospital representatives and legal opinion leaders, pooling experiences and knowledge regarding responsible data sharing.

A phased approach concept was developed, which does not only cover the mitigation of risk for re-identification but also considers the management of a de-identification process. This management provides for a verification and periodic review of the performed risk assessment. Based on the phased approach concept, recommendations were elaborated consisting of;

More detailed information about the launched project can be found here.


* Members of the Task Force: Julia Maurer (Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Personalized Health Informatics (PHI), Marc Vandelaer (wega Informatik AG), Jean-Louis Raisaro (CHUV), Katie Kalt (USZ), Antje Thien (USZ), Fabian Prasser (BHI at Charite, Germany), Bradley Malin (Vanderbilt University, USA).

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