Forschungsplattform Digitale Medizin

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Digitization is transforming research and healthcare. The introduction of electronic health records and digital clinical information systems has helped to revolutionize the quality of healthcare in countries such as the United States. Linking clinical data with information from insurers on people’s fitness and even about their genes allows clinicians to make informed decisions in real time, and enhances the development of personalized medicine. Germany, especially, has much to gain in this area.

BIH’s Digital Medicine Platform therefore plans to combine its ongoing work in this area and that of partner institutes to improve data use in research and clinical practice.
We will do this by establishing a Digital Health Center and provide a hub for the Digital Medicine Platform, focused on key areas such as health informatics, artificial intelligence and big data. Its activities will include, for example, developing IT infrastructures, big data analytical tools and mobile healthcare apps.

The platform aims at connecting sources of health data in Germany and ultimately at establishing a leading digital medicine center in Berlin. Recent platform-related recruitments to follow these goals include Prof. Dr. Roland Eils as appointed BIH Chair Digital Health and founding director of the new BIH Digital Health Center, Prof. Dr. Robert Gütig as W3 Professor in Mathematical Modeling of Neural Learning as well as Prof. Dr. Sylvia Thun as Director of the eHealth & interoperability core unit and Prof. Dr. Petra Ritter as BIH Johanna Quandt Professor for Brain Simulation. BIH’s Executive Board member Prof. Dr. Axel Radlach Pries holds the overall responsibility for the platform.

Several activities are ongoing to further shape the contents and developments of the research platform:

- BIH and Charité are participating in the Medical Informatics Funding Scheme (MI-I) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) by joining the HiGHmed consortium led by Prof. Roland Eils. The aim of the initiative is to improve research opportunities and individualized patient care through innovative IT solutions.

Key themes of this endeavor are:

  • Data interoperability, quality, and validation
  • Data security and protection
  • Data archiving, standardization, modelling, and access
  • Intellectual and data property
  • Risk and consent management
  • User rights and administration/management
  • User support and training

To reach these goals, BIH is supporting the development of a Data Integration Center (DIC). DICs are to be established at every participating university hospital and respective sites of MI-I partners.

- Regularly organized workshops with members of the BIH Translational Research Commons follow the goal to establish an active community, to engage in joint research activities and to identify technology needs and requirements with regard to the available infrastructures. This forum ensures the opportunity for scientists to meet technologists to discuss scientific projects as well as use cases for challenging the IT infrastructure that is currently being built up. The workshops will be continued among the internal developments as well as other events, such as the Berlin Health Innovation’s (BHI) Digital Health Forum.

- Besides the provision of administrative services and server infrastructures, the BIH IT Core Facility is substantially involved in the development of the ‘Health Data Platform (HDP)’ for the standardized and interoperable integration of data. Together with additional units such as a Data Use & Access Committee, the HDP shall enable researchers and clinicians to access and efficiently use data from the Charité’s healthcare and research context.

- The HPC Core Facility provides high-performance computing resources with a focus on processing human genome data to 106 scientists from BIH, Charité, and MDC at present. The Core Facility is continuously improved to serve the needs of scientists and covers topics such as user management systems, access and rights management as well as IT and data security. A current task for the facility is to elaborate a concept for the future, including the needs of the newly recruited BIH groups that rely heavily on computing services.

- BIH is cooperating with the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF), among other things by supporting the department with two junior professorships on semantic interoperability and ontologies as well as methods for digital phenotyping. In addition, Prof. Dr. Axel Radlach Pries acts as spokesperson for the ECDF digital health department.

- Collaborations with Charité’s Institute of Medical Informatics (directed by Prof. Dr. Thomas Tolxdorff) and other related research areas and groups are planned to be established following the recruitment for the pending position as Professor in Medical Informatics.

If you are interested in joining the community, please feel free to contact us. We are looking forward to your contributions to further shape and develop BIH’s research platform Digital Medicine.