Prof. Johanna Wanka; © Bundesregierung/Steffen Kugler
Medical informatics has become an integral part of healthcare management. This is why a new support concept is now meant to strengthen this research field in Germany and effectively improve patient care. Professor Johanna Wanka, German Minister of Education and Research, will introduce this support concept today in more detail during the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM.
Prior to her keynote address, MEDICA-tradefair.com spoke with the minister about the need for this support concept.
Professor Wanka, how important is medical informatics today?
Prof. Johanna Wanka:
Medical informatics is increasingly important in medicine and, consequently, the trigger for innovations!
Large-scale digitized data sets have long been an essential part of medicine. Medical research and patient care collect volumes of health-relevant data on a daily basis: just think about the data collected through daily clinical diagnostics in hospitals and medical practices or in clinical trials alone. Valuable information is also collected when therapies are prescribed and their successes are being measured. Basic biomedical research likewise generates large data sets. So far, this big data treasure trove that could significantly improve the healthcare of every individual is utilized inadequately. After all, the electronic information is available in a variety of data formats and in different locations. This is where medical informatics comes into play: it provides the opportunity to consolidate this multitude of data, analyze it and develop innovative solutions to ensure better patient care.
What is the new medical informatics support concept about and what goals are you pursuing with it?
Our primary goal is to utilize medically relevant data to improve the wellbeing of all patients. When this data is systematically analyzed, it can result in more accurate diagnostics and improved therapies. The goal of our support concept is to both advance research and improve patient care – namely through innovative IT solutions. These IT solutions are meant to facilitate the exchange and use of data from patient care and clinical and biomedical research across the boundaries of institutions and locations. An essential prerequisite for this is an adherence to the very stringent data protection standards and general regulations in Germany. From the start, we set our sights on applications and the specific benefit for the patient in developing IT solutions. We will also support young academics and talents.
First the emphasis is on university hospitals since they form the closest connection between patient care and clinical research. Other partners such as research institutes, universities, companies, private clinics or other healthcare institutions can and should also take an active part in this. The innovation potential of new technology developments is equally intended to be increased with startups and small and medium-sized companies.