i~HD was delighted to welcome 210 participants at our Inaugural Conference on 10th March, in Paris. We wish to thank all of our speakers for helping to make this event a great success. The presentations slides, videos of many of the talks, and interviews taken during the conference, will be published on this web site at the beginning of April.
The Inaugural Conference marked the parallel launch of a novel European platform to support multi-centre clinical research. This operational platform, the result of the European project EHR4CR (Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research), connects securely to the data within multiple hospital EHR systems and clinical data warehouses across Europe, to enable a trial sponsor to predict the number of eligible patients for a candidate clinical trial protocol, to assess its feasibility and to locate the most relevant hospital sites.
Dipak Kalra, President, explained that the role of i~HD, as a not-for-profit Institute, is to provide independent governance oversight of clinical research platforms and services, as these expand to connect with multiple hospitals across Europe. Several presentations were given on this theme: the EHR4CR platform and its pharma-led adoption programme, the new legal landscape protecting patient privacy, and the i~HD governance services that reflect state-of-the-art in the trustworthy reuse of health data for research. Participants learned about Europe´s largest “big data” project in health: EMIF (European Medical Information Framework).
Also in the spotlight were the challenges and state-of-the-art approaches to improving the quality and semantic interoperability of clinical data, which was discussed within a panel comprising health ministry, health insurance, clinician and patient perspectives. The audience were told that i~HD will play an important future role in the development and quality labelling of semantic interoperability assets, bringing together clinical and research domain experts, with patients, to help ensure that future standards support patient care, learning health systems and clinical research.
The four keynote speakers each emphasised the importance of the new Institute viewed from their perspective. Gaël Raimbault, French Ministry of Health, highly appreciated that this innovative European initiative is being launched in Paris and the contributions it could make. The views of patients on the benefits of reusing their data for research were presented by Mary Baker, past President of the European Brain Council. Pierre Meulien, Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, congratulated the EHR4CR consortium for this sustainable outcome from the project, and indicated how it could support the future big data initiatives of IMI. Terje Peetso, Policy Officer at the European Commission DG CONNECT, emphasised that the EC is strongly committed to advancing interoperability across Europe, and supporting the stronger inclusion and empowerment of patients, which align well with the mission and objectives of i~HD.
Among the participants were healthcare providers from across Europe, representatives of the pharma industry, patient associations, health professional associations, the health ICT industry and standards bodies.
The event was kindly hosted by the Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris & UPMC (Sorbonne Université) and sponsored by Sanofi and AstraZeneca, two of the EFPIA consortium members of the founder EHR4CR project.