The MIRACUM Steering Board, together with the University hospital´s CIOs and team members from the participating medical informatics, biometrics and bioinformatics groups met for two days (29th/30th of March) at Frankfurt University Hospital for rounding up their grant proposal for the development and networking phase. The status of pilot projects was demonstrated and workplans for the future defined. While two members of the Erlangen Medical Informatics department in parallel pursued a 10 day research visit at three research groups in New York City, the input from those international cooperation partners and scientific advisors was directly transferred into the concepts for use case implementation.
The MIRACUM Steering Board congratulated the Medical Faculty of Gießen Universities and the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University for their recent announcement of new professorships in Medical Informatics. Finally the MIRACUM Steering Board initiated the planning of their first Scientific Symposium in February 2018.
For many years now Erlangen´s Chair of Medical Informatics has committed itself to the support of translational research. Since the i2b2 Toolkit has been successfully deployed in various projects for more than five years now, Erlangen´s section of medical informatics also faced the challenge of supporting the integration and -with it- the evaluation of molecular and genomic analysis data by providing clinical data. To this end the platform tranSMART, which evolved from i2b2 and was developed further by the Transmart Foundation, has been established at the medical faculty of the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. It has been refined and evaluated both for its application in medical teaching and for its usability regarding its use by basic researchers in medicine. Two of these projects have now been accepted for a presentation at the eHealth Summit 2017 in Vienna (23th/24th May 2017). The detailed results of the project will soon be published in the conference proceedings of the IOS series “Studies in Health Technologies and Informatics” as well.
The first joint project results of the MIRACUM consortium will be presented by Marc Hinderer at the eHealth Summit Austria (23./24.5.2017) in Vienna. A project team from six of our MIRACUM partners has conducted semi-structured interviews with experts of five university hospitals concerning organizational structure and procedures which are currently established around the molecular tumor boards at those university hospitals. Even though this processes and structures are currently still quiet heterogeneous in those hospitals, three options to support those processes were identified: (1) standardized pipelines to integrate automated variant calling and annotation; (2) tools supporting the experts in creating their reports and presentations and (3) implementing pharmacogenomic CDSS into therapeutic recommendations. The resulting publication “Hinderer M, Boerries M, Haller F, Wagner S, Sollfranke S, Acker T, Prokosch HU. Christoph J. Supporting Molecular Tumor Boards in Molecular-guided Decision-making – the Current Status of Five German University Hospitals” will be published in the IOS Press open access Studies in Health Technologies and Informatics series and provide details of the current situation as well as the recommended IT support.
We are happy to announce a newly established professorship in the context of the MIRACUM consortium. The Faculty of Medicine of the Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen invites applicants for a W2 Professorship for Biomedical Informatics and Systematic Medicine; the application deadline expires on April 20th 2017. Detailed information is provided in the job advertisement in English and German. We are looking forward to receiving your applications!
In order to support the interest of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to expand the planned data integration centre networks across all German university hospitals, MIRACUM had defined a set of rules and requirements for adding a new partner to the consortium. Within the last months researchers of the Medical Faculty of the Otto-von-Guericke-University and the University Hospital Magdeburg have shown great interest in such a future participation and have already started to contribute effectively to the MIRACUM pilot projects and thus shown that they fulfill the defined criteria. Thus, within the recent two-day MIRACUM workshop the Dean of the Medical Faculty (Prof. Dr. Rothkötter), supported by the Director of the Department for Biometrics and Medical Informatics (Prof. Dr. Bernarding), presented their status and potential contributions as a future MIRACUM partner.
As a result we have the pleasure to announce a new member in the MIRACUM consortium: the Medical Faculty of the Otto-von-Guericke-University together with the University Hospital Magdeburg.
Prof. Dr. Prokosch, the MIRACUM coordinator, and the whole MIRACUM Steering Board gave a warm welcome to Prof. Dr. Hermann-Josef Rothkötter, the dean of the medical faculty, and Prof. Dr. Johannes Bernarding, the director of the Institute for Biometry and Medical Informatics, who have already joined the second MIRACUM Steering Board workshop in Erlangen.
30 MIRACUM members gathered in Erlangen from 6th to 7th February to present the status of ongoing pilot projects and to discuss the projects and aims for the development and networking phase of the medical informatics initiative. One highlight: we welcomed the University Hospital of Magdeburg as a new partner in our consortium. Furthermore, we discussed different topics for our use cases and pilot projects and received updates from our team members who participated in the National Steering Committee´s workgroups on Broad Consent, Data Sharing and Interoperability. The next meeting will be held in Frankfurt at the end of March.
New insights into the relationship between changes in genomic sequences and diseases can be gained even faster and more reliably if the genomic information of the respective patient is included in the analysis and evaluation of the medical data of a university hospital. Therefore it is necessary to enable researchers to access these so-called Omics data and, at the same time, to provide the necessary tools for a holistic analysis. The MIRACUM Consortium addresses this issue and has already conducted two workshops, during which potential solutions were discussed which are meant to enable the afore-said access/tools not only within an institution but also beyond in order to facilitate collaborative research.
The first 2-day workshop of the MIRACUM consortium was hosted by the University Hospital of Frankfurt from 27th to 28th October 2016 and around 30 consortium members followed the invitation to Frankfurt. The agenda was fully packed – beginning with lively discussions on the lessons learned from the USA visiting tour and followed by presentations on the results of our first pilot projects (pharmacogenomic clinical decision support, analysis workflow for heterogeneous omics data and proof-of-concept data integration) in preparation of the full use-case projects planned for the development and networking phase. Potential partners from industry were invited as well; they presented their solutions and concepts in the field of data integration, clinical/pharmacogenomics decision support and natural language processing.
A second technical workshop was held on 22nd December in Frankfurt. The major topic of this workshop was the elaboration of the detailed technical concept of the various components of the data integration centre. A further workshop focusing on omics data workflow will be hosted by the University Hospital of Freiburg on 13th January 2017.
The next steering board workshop will be held on 6th/7th February 2017. Its venue will be the University Hospital of Erlangen.
How does the US meet the challenges posed by the broad range of medical informatics? Which approaches may be taken as a role model for Germany? These and other questions were the focus of the MIRACUM trip to the hotspots of medical informatics in New York, Nashville and Boston. Altogether 18 senior staff scientists and clinical directors from eight German MIRACUM sites took part in this journey. It was particularly interesting to see that in the US there have been national consortia for several years now, which might serve as a role model for Germany.
The first destination of the delegation was New York: they discussed current issues with the groups of Charles Sawyers (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Jyotishman Pathak (Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medicine) and George Hripcsak (Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University Medical Center). These were issues such as Data Sharing, Pharmacogenomic Clinical Decision Support, the Observation Health Data Sciences and Informatics Project (OHDSI), the PCORNET NYC Clinical Data Research Network, the analysis of electronic patient records or the Precision Medicine Initiative.
Boston was the third destination of the MIRACUM-group´s tour. Here the TriNetX company presented their licensed software solution for a simple patient recruitment in clinical trials.
At last, the delegation met scientists of the Havard Medical School (Department of Biomedical Informatics). On this occasion the groups of Isaac Kohane, Kenneth Mandl and Paul Avillach presented, among others, their ‘Scalable Collaborative Infrastructrue for a Learning heathcare System (SCILHS)’ project as well as their i2b2/tranSMART approach on the basis of a high-capacity infrastructure within the Amazon Cloud.
The members of the MIRACUM delegation consider the results of their journey throughout positive and will surely maintain and strengthen the contact to their US colleagues.
During the workshop on “Data Warehouse Systems as a Basis for Precision Medicine”, organized by the German Centres for Health Research (DZG) and held at the World Health Summit in Berlin on 11th October 2016, Ulli Prokosch, representative of the MIRACUM consortium, gave a talk on “Reforming Medical Informatics in Germany – Basis for Precision Medicine” and hence stimulated the discussion on this subject. He recommended broadening the spectrum of research and teaching in medical informatics to cover all potential data sources (clinical data, imaging data, the various level of omics data, patient generated data, social media data, environmental data – as, for example, illustrated in the recent paper “The path from big data to precision medicine” of Huang et al.)
At the same time Prof. Prokosch stated that the spectrum of methodologies in medical informatics also needed to be extended and that the respective core competencies should be included in the curricula of this field. In 2012 the American Medical Informatics Association already illustrated this in its paper on the “definition of biomedical informatics and specification of core competencies for graduate education in the discipline”.
Ulli Prokosch also highlighted publications such as “Elenco E. Defining digital medicine, 2015.” and „Martin-Sanchez FJ and Lopez-Campos GH. The New Role of Biomedical Informatics in the Age of Digital Medicine. 2016.” and thus emphasized that precision medicine will need not only the contributions but also the collaboration of a lot of researchers in this field. Furthermore, he prompted the German Medical Informatics Researchers to adopt the term “Biomedical Informatics” and to integrate the respective researchers in their community.
Only a strong interdisciplinary cooperation like this, organized under the umbrella of biomedical informatics, will be able to master future challenges.