HUS Acamedic is a certified and scalable virtual research and analytics environment for secure processing of health data

As a leading university hospital in Finland, Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) has decades of accumulated clinical information stored in the HUS datalake. Early this year, HUS underwent an official auditing process for the HUS Acamedic, ahighly secure cloud-based data processing environment, which enables seamless and secure processing of sensitive health data for authorized users in and outside Finland.   

HUS Acamedic is a secure and scalable virtual research and analytics environment for the processing of health and social data regulated by the Finnish law on secondary use of data.The HUS Acamedic can be used both in internal projects by HUS researchers, and in external initiatives including industry-driven and collaborative projects. 

First cloud-based system certified for secondary use of health data 

The HUS Acamedic environment was officially audited in January 2022 and fulfills all the requirements for secure data processing environments set by Findata, Finnish Social and Health Data Permit AuthorityConsequently, HUS Academic is registered in the official registry maintained by the Finnish supervision authority Valvira as the first cloud-based system fully compliant to European and Finnish legislation on secondary use of health data.  

Chief Information Officer Mikko Rotonen at HUS explains: “The HUS Acamedic is implemented as a cloud-based service on Microsoft Azure. It provides scalable computing power according to the needs of the project at hand. The HUS Academic provides a project-specific and secure processing environment that can be accessed from anywhere by authorized users.  

The projects utilizing the HUS Acamedic can process data collected from various data sources, including HUS data lake, Findata or any other data source specified in the data permit. ”Inpractical terms, the HUS Acamedic environment allows research teams to analyse not only our own data, but data coming from other sources, as long as it meets all requirements and has permits provided by Findata,” says Development Director Visa Honkanen of HUS 

New research and collaboration opportunities for private companies  

The HUS Acamedic can also include data controlled by private companies. This opens up significant new research opportunities for e.g. pharmaceutical companies who can securely bring their own dataand tools into the HUS environment and maintain full control of their data and intellectual property. Michael Rebhan, a scientist from Novartis says: “The new HUS environment is among the best setups in the world and well positioned to increase our understanding of the often complex reality of patient journeys. The HUS environment will also help us gain insights into unexpected patterns in patient journeys, which in turn can provide excellent starting points for co-creating innovative solutions in a more collaborative way.”   

The environment includes several generic scientific tools for statistical analysis, big data, genome data analysis and imaging data to mention a few examplesCustom tools can be included as long as they do not violate Findata’s regulations. The costs on using the HUS Academic are based on the actual usage and computing power requirements. 

For more information on the technical details, user rights, pricing and management of the HUS Acamedic, do not hesitate to contact Niilo Aho (firstname.surname(a)