The SPHN Semantic Interoperability Framework Uses GraphDB to Enhance Medical Data Sharing and Collaborative Research

Ontotext’s RDF database for knowledge graphs was selected to store and analyze the project specific knowledge graphs of SPHN-funded multi-site projects.

Sofia/Bulgaria & Basel/Switzerland Monday, October 18, 2021

We at Ontotext are pleased to announce that the Swiss Personalised Health Network (SPHN) is using our industry-leading RDF database for knowledge graphs GraphDB™ in its Semantic Interoperability Framework.

SPHN is an initiative of the Swiss government that aims to provide a framework for more efficient exchange of health and health-related data for research. SPHN’s scale and efforts to collectively build a sustainable FAIR health-data ecosystem are unprecedented for Switzerland.

To enable the use of such data for research, SPHN has developed a semantic interoperability strategy, which ensures that information is consistently interpretable by both machines and humans across projects, systems, countries and over time. The framework developed for this strategy is based on a strong semantic layer of information and knowledge graph technology for the exchange layer (which can be extended by the individual projects to fit their specific purposes).

The Resource Description Framework (RDF) was chosen as the underlying data format for the exchange, data integration and storage layer of the Semantic Interoperability Framework. With its ability to handle massive load, querying and inferencing in real time, GraphDB was selected as the RDF database to store and analyze the project specific knowledge graphs of SPHN-funded multi-site projects. GraphDB provides a flexible and extensible solution for easy exchange, sharing and use of medical knowledge between hospitals and researchers. It also ensures interoperability for various use cases and applications in healthcare, biomedical research and data science, and supports the FAIR Data principles.

By being an integral part of the SPHN Semantic Interoperability Framework, GraphDB contributes to creating a health-data ecosystem that can benefit researchers as well as healthcare providers and authorities – says Ilian Uzunov, Sales Director for Life-sciences and Healthcare at Ontotext.

In the second phase of SPHN, we are now looking at building large semantically interoperable knowledge graphs that will be available for (re)use by other research groups – says Dr. Sabine Österle, Team Lead Interoperability of the Personalized Health Informatics Group of SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, which is responsible for the SPHN Semantic Interoperability Framework.

If you’d like to meet Ilian Uzunov, you can do it in our newly opened office in Basel and at BioData World, which will take place on November 2-4.


For more information, contact Doug Kimball, Chief Marketing Officer at Ontotext