Workshop to identify the core set of variables to be harmonised in ATHLOS

Harmonisation Workshop held 16-17 May 2016 in Barcelona, Spain

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The ATHLOS (Ageing Trajectories of Health: Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies) Project is merging large sets of variables from longitudinal databases derived from several European and international studies. A two-day workshop was held 16-17 May at the Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu (PSSJD) in Sant Boi de Llobregat (Barcelona) to discuss advances in the creation of the harmonised data set and to identify potential core variables. The meeting was organised by the PSSJD—the institution coordinating the project—and chaired by Dr Josep Maria Haro.

The event was attended by participants from the different institutions involved in ATHLOS. Dr Isabel Fortier, from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre where she leads the Maelstrom Research programme, gave a presentation on principles of harmonisation and guided a discussion about potential core variables to be included in the harmonised data set. Maelstrom Research is an initiative which develops methods and open-source software for harmonisation, and participated in the workshop as an ATHLOS collaborator in the harmonisation process. Participants in the workshop provided inputs about the domains and characteristics which should constitute the core set of harmonised variables.

Although the workshop focused on the tasks of the first ATHLOS work package, “Creation of a harmonised data set”, some preliminary analyses regarding the creation of a common metric of health were also presented during the second day of the meeting. The main task of the second ATHLOS work package, “Development of analytical methods”, is to create a metric of health that can be comparable across different waves and surveys.

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Workshop to identify the core set of variables to be harmonised in ATHLOS