Starting signal for the new funding period – SMITH meets for the first closed meeting of the year

On January 1st of this year, the Medical Informatics Initiative (MII) moved into the consolidation and extension phase. The goals are clearly defined – the IT infrastructures established since 2018 are to be further expanded. This includes even stronger collaboration between the university hospitals as well as with new partners and related initiatives. With this goal in mind, nearly 70 SMITH project staff met last week at the first online retreat of the year. “SMITH 2.0 got off to a pretty smooth start,” summarized the consortium leader, Prof. Dr. Markus Löffler, at the opening of the event. He added that the proven working methods would remain in place under the new partner structure and should be continued. The management level can also be continued unchanged. Since the beginning of the year, nine university hospitals and three universities have been participating in SMITH, working together to establish a total of 10 Data Integration Centers. The Data Integration Centers have come a long way in building up their infrastructure in the past five years, Professor Löffler said. The current challenges, however, lie primarily in the development of new data structures, making them available and accelerating the application processes for users. The integration of new structures, such as the “Netzwerk Universitätsmedizin” (University Medicine Network) or the Digital Hubs, are also tasks of the current funding period. The aim is to establish a new culture of data sharing.

Against this background, the topics of the closed meeting focused on the status quo in the Data Integration Centers and the Data Use Projects carried out to date, which can be quantified at over 70. SMITH attaches particular importance to the empowerment of data users, primarily clinical researchers. In this context, Prof. Dr. Toralf Kirsten, Head of the Medical Informatics Center at Leipzig University Medical Center, presented the concept of the SMITH Academy. In the future, the planned online learning platform for interested researchers will use modular learning units, tutorials and video sessions to teach how the healthcare data available in the Data Integration Centers can be requested and evaluated in the context of the respective research. The presentations by Dr. Kristin Stoll and Dan Philipp from the Leipzig University Medial Center showed that this opens up completely new opportunities for healthcare research. The two physicians took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the SMITH rotation program and thus to conduct research for one year in a targeted, specialty-related manner with routine data provided by the Data Integration Center Leipzig. Dr. Stoll dedicated herself to the field of stroke research, Dan Philipp addressed the topic of intensive care structures. In their presentations, both emphasized the good cooperation with the team of the Data Integration Center Leipzig and the new aspects that have arisen for their data evaluations. The requirements and challenges of data use will be discussed further at the next closed meeting.

The next meeting will take place on 30/31.05.2023 as a face-to-face event at the University Library Albertina in Leipzig.