The second congress of the SMITH Consortium aims to look beyond the horizon. In addition to the presentation of our consortial results, achieved during the set-up and networking phase of the Medical Informatics Initiative, we also want to take a look at national and European developments. The transfer of digital innovations to regional care, among other aspects, will be addressed using the example of the “Digital Hubs: Advances in Research and Health Care” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The opportunities offered by digitization in medicine will be the focus of attention in all topics, with the aim of linking research and care in the best possible and most sustainable way. This development requires highly qualified personnel. Strengthening digital competencies and medical informatics education is another focus that we want to pursue at the SMITH Congress 2022.
Sustainability is also a future overarching theme for digital medicine, going far beyond mere funding and financial viability. Research and patient care should no longer be considered and experienced separately from one another. At the transition point at which Germany currently stands, it is important to emphasize that digitization in healthcare is not an end in itself. Consequently, digital tools that find their way into patient care must also be evaluated and, if necessary, meet the requirements for a medical device. We want to show to what extent such challenges can be addressed in the university context.
The Medical Informatics Initiative placed University Medical Centers in a 'pole position' for digitization in medicine. From the outset, the aim was to involve other partners in the healthcare sector in the developments. Through the funding line 'Digital Hubs: Advances in Research and Health Care' of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, a number of pilot projects are now underway to address this development. We offer a platform for the Digital Hubs to network and report on their initial experiences.
One pillar of the Medical Informatics Initiative is the strengthening of research and education. In the SMITH Consortium, six new professorships, four junior research groups and three new study programs as well as a variety of continuing education programs have been established. We would like to provide a forum for these groups and show how, after data has been made accessible, the topic of data handling is becoming increasingly important for all stakeholders.
Digitization in medicine does not end at national borders. The idea of a 'European Health Data Space' has been drafted as a major goal. We want to report on the status quo, ask how citizens can participate in this and which components are still needed in addition to international efforts for interoperability.