Interview with Pierre Meulien, Executive Director, Innovative Medicines Initiative
RAMIT vzw, a non-profit association, is a research platform established by Prof. Dr. Georges De Moor in 1992, with the support of the Ghent University. RAMIT’s main mission is performing and supporting International and National R&D in Medical Informatics and Telematics, nowadays also called eHealth.
From 1992 until 1998, RAMIT was supporting CEN TC/215 (European Committee for Standardization, Technical Committee eHealth) with Prof. Dr. G. De Moor as founding chairman and funded by the E.C. (DG Enterprise and Industry). RAMIT has participated successfully, often in a co-ordinating capacity, in more than 80 R&D projects in both the framework of EU-Research Programmes (since the second EC Framework Programme, AIM) and national R&D Programmes (e.g. IBBT). RAMIT’s R&D activities resulted in the creation of spin-offs, scientific associations and a world-wide network.
RAMIT’s R&D projects are focusing on
- Ontology, Natural Language Processing, Semantic Interoperability;
- Electronic Health Records (EHR), Patient Health Records (PHR);
- Quality Labeling and Certification of EHR (PHR) systems;
- eLearning, eTesting & Computer Assisted Instruction;
- Web-based Association Studies and Clinical Trials;
- eHomeCare, Patient Tele-monitoring and Tele-medicine;
- Data Protection, Privacy, Security, Authentication;
- De-Identification, Pseudonymisation;
- EHR for Clinical Research, secondary use of EHR;
- Innovative business model for eHealth applications;
- eHealth Standards, Archetypes;
- Medical Statistics, Decision Support Systems;
- Web applications.
Today, RAMIT is (was recently) involved in following EU-funded projects:
Within the eStandards project, RAMIT acts as coordinator in close collaboration with HL7 (Catherine Chronaki), as scientific coordinator.
The eStandards CSA is proposed by HL7, CEN TC251, & IHE, leading Standards Organizations (SDOs), and is supported by the eHealth Network, ISO TC215, GS1, IHTSDO, IEEE11073, and IMIA to advance eHealth interoperability and global alignment of standards with seven objectives:
- Join up with Stakeholders in Europe and globally to build consensus on eHealth standards, accelerate knowledge-sharing, and promote wide adoption of standards.
- Deliver an evidence-based Roadmap for alignment, iterative consolidation, and broad acceptance of eStandards that is endorsed by SDOs, the eHealth Network, the providers, and the Industry.
- Contribute to the eHealth Interoperability Framework use cases focusing on clinical content modelling for different paradigms and embed a Quality Management System for interoperability testing and certification of eHealth systems.
- Collect evidence and provide guidance on the coexistence of competing or overlapping standards in large-scale eHealth deployment nationally and cross-border.
- Participate in EU/US MoU roadmap actions as the international patient summaries standard.
- Explore socio-economic aspects of eHealth interoperability, revisiting the language for user-vendor interaction that embodies ‘co-making’ in trust, collaboration and long-term engagement.
- Align across PHC-34 to nurture innovation, sustainability & growth under CEF and beyond contributing to Key actions of the Digital Agenda 2020.
The proposal’s ambition is to strengthen Europe’s voice and impact, while reinforcing the bridges established with the EU Patient Summary guideline across the Atlantic in Trillium Bridge and among MS with epSOS, eSENS, Antilope, and EXPAND. The eStandards Roadmap and associated evidence base, a white paper on the need for formal standards, and two guidelines addressing how to work with: (a) clinical content in profiles and (b) competing standards in large-scale eHealth deployments will be pragmatic steps toward alignment and convergence.
VALUeHEALTH is an EU funded R&D project within the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.
VALUeHEALTH is establishing how eHealth interoperability can create, deliver, and capture value for all stakeholders, to justify a sustainable market in scaling up cross-border interoperability. The consortium is developing an evidence-based business plan for sustainable interoperability, with sustainable revenue streams for developing and operating self-funding priority pan-European eHealth Services beyond 2020.
VALUeHEALTH comprises a rich multi-stakeholder consortium of experienced partners and funded experts, to bring together many essential viewpoints to undertake the work plan and - importantly - to endorse and champion its results.
Starting with the cross-border interoperability use cases already approved by the eHealth Network for the CEF , eight VALUeHEALTH partners cooperate with multiple stakeholders though a robust methodology to prioritise use cases relevant to Member States for cross-border and also within border health service business needs.
The consortium is
- designing an over-arching business model and multiple stakeholder Value Propositions for European scale interoperability;
- defining the multisided market needed to sustain investments in interoperability services;
- performing state of the art Cost Benefit Assessment and risk assessments;
- and from this will develop a strategic plan for sustainability.
VALUeHEALTH will define the interfaces, standards and platform services and tools needed to deliver the prioritised use cases, and from this derive a design and deployment roadmap for the essential generic and healthcare specific services. The project will provide a gap analysis of standards, specifications and translations plus their urgency of need and estimated costs.
The project is collating European experience of success strategies for promoting high-quality structured and coded EHRs, and of organisational changes needed to capitalise on richly interoperable health records, to produce a roadmap of scale-up adoption strategies, recommended incentives and who should fund them.
Finally, VALUeHEALTH will integrate and validate these results to produce a definitive Business Plan and Strategy for taking forward public-private investment in digital eHealth services, to give clear guidance to the CEF on how it may construct its digital service infrastructure Building Blocks for health, to ensure maximum value and optimal sustainability beyond 2020. This will not only include the costs and revenues, and their timelines, but the strategies needed to derive value from them - which is vital to justify sustainability.
 CEF: Connecting Europe Facility (http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/connecting-europe-facility)
Within the EHR4CR (Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research) project RAMIT, collaborates closely with the Managing Entity (EuroRec), also plays a supporting role (financial and administrative reporting, online collaboration space, PR materials). The EHR4CR project aims to design and demonstrate a scalable and cost-effective approach to interoperability between Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs) and Clinical Research through multiple but unified initiatives across different therapeutic areas, with varying local and national stakeholders and across several countries under various legal frameworks. This unified approach will be made possible by both an EHR4CR business model and an EHR4CR platform. Working closely with the EFPIA partners, the consortium will confirm priority clinical trials scenarios, such as patient recruitment, to be addressed and the requirements for these scenarios. The present gap between EHR systems and clinical research systems to deliver these scenarios will be analysed, which will direct the business model and the platform design.EHR4CR, funded by the E.C. IMI Programme and EFPIA, runs over 4 years (2011-2014) with a budget of +16 million € and involves 33 partners (academic and industrial) (www.ehr4cr.eu).
In December 2011, RAMIT, as coordinator, signed a Grant Agreement (FP7-ICT-2011-7-288408) for a Network of Excellence (NoE), named “Semantic Interoperability for Health Network”. It is a 48-months project with a budget of 3.222.380 euro of which 2.945.364 euro is funded by the E.C.
SemanticHealthNet will develop a scalable and sustainable pan-European organisational and governance process for the semantic interoperability of clinical and biomedical knowledge, to help ensure that EHR systems are optimised for patient care, public health and clinical research across healthcare systems and institutions (www.semantichealthnet.eu).
In order to improve a European-wide online collaboration amongst researchers, RAMIT has implemented a number of tools and platforms.