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Rinaldi, E., Stellmach, C., Rajkumar, N.M.R. et al. Harmonization and standardization of data for a pan-European cohort on SARS- CoV-2 pandemic. npj Digit. Med.5, 75 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-022-00620-x


The European project ORCHESTRA intends to create a new pan-European cohort to rapidly advance the knowledge of the effects and treatment of COVID-19. Establishing processes that facilitate the merging of heterogeneous clusters of retrospective data was an essential challenge. In addition, data from new ORCHESTRA prospective studies have to be compatible with earlier collected information to be efficiently combined. In this article, we describe how we utilized and contributed to existing standard terminologies to create consistent semantic representation of over 2500 COVID-19-related variables taken from three ORCHESTRA studies. The goal is to enable the semantic interoperability of data within the existing project studies and to create a common basis of standardized elements available for the design of new COVID-19 studies. We also identified 743 variables that were commonly used in two of the three prospective ORCHESTRA studies and can therefore be directly combined for analysis purposes. Additionally, we actively contributed to global interoperability by submitting new concept requests to the terminology Standards Development Organizations.