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Consolidation of data sources allows for new research and treatment approaches in medicine

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From 2018, the MIRACUM (Medical Informatics in Research and Care in University Medicine) consortium will be receiving EUR 32.1 million within the framework of the Medical Informatics Funding Scheme of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Eight universities and university medical centers, two other institutes of higher education, and a commercial organization are the members of MIRACUM. The objective is to amalgamate the currently very different healthcare and research data islands in data integration centers in order to facilitate central use of the data for research projects and to help with treatment decisions with the aid of innovative IT solutions. The Chair of Medical Informatics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) is undertaking the coordination work. For the purposes of the MIRACUM project, the Mainz University Medical Center will establish a so-called data integration center. This will consolidate the patient data of the Mainz University Medical Center, which is currently saved on the many specialized individual systems, in a secure, high quality manner. The Mainz University Medical Center will be receiving a share of the funding equivalent to EUR 3.3 million over a period of four years.

Clinical findings, the results of diagnostic imaging, and genetic and molecular testing are examples of the information stored in the various hospital IT systems, which MIRACUM will interconnect. One of the aims is to discriminate with greater accuracy between the various subgroups of pulmonary diseases and brain tumors, for example, so that the corresponding patients can be treated in a more targeted and effective manner. Physicians from various disciplines need to cooperate effectively, for instance to treat cancer. For their routine work and in particular when it comes to making decisions within the framework of tumor board reviews, they require all of the available information on their patients, in full and accessible as required. Taking into account the need for personal data protection, MIRACUM will be able to provide users with the clinical data and the results of molecular and genetic analysis they need. All data will be efficiently collated and coherently displayed. In addition, the consortium plans to make it easier for researchers to undertake searches in order to identify patients that can be recruited for clinical trials. Initial results have already been achieved during a nine-month concept phase. Based on this, MIRACUM is to be funded for an additional four years from 2018.

The principal task of the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is the construction and establishment of a data integration center. The purpose of this data integration center will be to consolidate the patient data stored in the many specialized individual systems in a secure, high quality manner. "The provision of this funding offers us at the Mainz University Medical Center the chance to participate in and make our mark on the continuing digitalization of healthcare," emphasized Professor Ulrich Förstermann, the Dean and Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center. "With the EUR 3.3 million allotted especially to us, we will be able to contribute our expertise in data protection and data security and develop new methods and procedures which will enable us to make the data available to researchers here and at other locations in a secure manner. In addition, our previous work in many projects related to the storage and use of metadata will also significantly help us to assemble and coordinate patient data that is all too often widely disseminated and frequently stored in forms that are incompatible to each other."

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