5 July 2018. Effective from July 2018, the coordination office of the Medical Informatics Initiative (MII) in Berlin is to receive funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for four years. The office organises and provides support for cross-consortia collaboration within the initiative. It is operated by TMF – Technology, Methods, and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research e.V. in cooperation with MFT (German Association of Medical Faculties) and VUD (German Association of Academic Medical Centers). The Medical Informatics Initiative aims to integrate data from healthcare and research by means of innovative IT solutions – to enhance medical research and improve patient care. In total, BMBF is providing over 150 million euros for the initiative between 2018 and 2021.
Nearly all university hospitals and medical centres across Germany are joining forces within the scope of the MII. As TMF Executive Director Sebastian C. Semler underscores, “Interoperable IT systems form the vital basis for the exchange of data across sites in research and healthcare. The coordination office, hand-in-hand with the National Steering Committee, helps ensure the IT solutions developed by the MII consortia are compatible and avoid siloes, i.e. stand-alone solutions.” In addition to these technological aspects, the coordination office also addresses key issues in data protection and security, and quality assurance, and fulfils a managerial role. “As an umbrella organisation for IT infrastructure and research data management in medicine, TMF brings its domain expertise to the initiative, and contributes to the longevity of the solutions and infrastructures developed within the MII,” Semler explains.
In the current phase of the initiative, BMBF is funding four consortia (DIFUTURE, HiGHmed, MIRACUM and SMITH). Initially, these are represented by 17 university hospitals and many additional partner sites – including research institutions (both independent and associated with universities) and businesses. By 2019, nearly all university medical centres in Germany will be involved in the MII. The consortia’s primary task is to create data integration centres (DICs) at participating sites. The DICs, in turn, are to establish the necessary technological and organisational foundations for sharing data beyond the boundaries of individual entities and geographical locations. The findings and solutions resulting from the MII are to be applied to enhance research and patient care, and to improve the healthcare system in the long term.