Germany launches medical informatics initiative
Germany's Ministry of Education and Research (BMFT) has named four consortia that will take part in a key phase of an initiative dedicated to developing the latest in medical informatics' technologies in Germany. The BMFT says it is devoting more than EUR 150 million to the program known as MI-I. The aim of MI-I is to create a national medical IT infrastructure that can utilize large amounts of data to improve patient care in Germany significantly.
The BMBF commissioned four consortia to carry out the project's four-year development and networking phase in July. These groups include 17 university clinics and around 40 additional partners. Starting in 2018, the consortia will begin to set up data integration centers (DIC) that will allow the networking and exchange of large amounts of medical data.
The consortia are: DIFUTURE (Data Integration for Future Medicine), HiGHmed medical informatics (Heidelberg-Göttingen-Hannover Medizininformatik), MIRACUM (Medical Informatics in Research and Care in University Medicine) and SMITH (Smart Medical Information Technology for Health Care).
The BMBF says the project's priority is the security of patient data and privacy. In addition to other technologies, the DIFUTURE consortium is developing "innovative approaches to ensure a very high level of security." Among the areas HiGHmed medical informatics' work is focused on are: semantic and syntactic interoperability, analytics, visualization and apps, training, project management and data security and privacy.
MIRACUM has already presented results for data shared between its eight DICs at university hospitals, saying they indicate the "opportunities which arise from federated analysis of data." In one case study, a cohort of stroke patients was identified and clinicians' adherence to recently modified stroke guidelines analyzed. And finally, one of SMITH's initial aims is to advance and harmonize IT infrastructure at its university hospitals to "enable data exchange between information systems for healthcare and research."
The BMBF says the M-IT project will, in addition to leaving Germany with a state-of-the-art medical IT system, ultimately improve general medical knowledge and contribute to better therapies for patients in Germany and elsewhere.