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An interdisciplinary conference to tackle digital healthcare

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Published on Friday, 03 November 2017

On 4-5 October 2017, the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg hosted its 4th International Systems Biomedicine Symposium entitled “Impact of Big Data analytics on Health Care”. The conference successfully brought together around 150 participants coming from diverse backgrounds. Representatives from pharmaceutical and ICT companies, policy makers, innovators, clinicians and researchers from major academic institutions gathered to review the current status of data analytics and discuss challenges associated with providing the right information to clinicians, patients and healthcare related stakeholders. They shared different perspectives of the latest research, regulatory framework and market trends.

 

4th International Systems Biomedicine Symposium - Impact of Big Data analytics on Health Care

 

Data protection and privacy

The two days gave a good insight into the diversity of topics linked with digital health, starting with ethical and legal issues. During the first session, Prof. Nikolaus Forgó from the Institute for Legal Informatics in Hannover presented the new European regulation regarding data protection (GDPR). His talk highlighted the changes in the doctor-patient relationship as well as the legal challenges around privacy brought by digital technology. Later in the day, Boaz Gur-Lavie, founder of the start-up MDClone, talked about the idea of synthetic data, as a solution to some of these issues, namely privacy and accessibility. He explained the concept and how his company can produce artificial data sets matching the properties of the original ones, with the goal of facilitating biomedical research. Several presentations also tackled the role of patients and their empowerment through digitalization, underlining the need for a patient-centric healthcare.

Research projects in physiology, oncology and neurology

The range of scientific disciplines was very broad as well, from physiology to neurology and oncology. Associate Prof. Ines Thiele detailed the work of the Molecular Systems Physiology group of the LCSB towards a virtual metabolic human, showing how diverse personalized data (diet, activity, physiology, genetics...) could be integrated with knowledge and models of the human metabolism and of the microbiome in order to develop precision nutrition and health. In the following session dealing with big data in neurology, Viktor Jirsa, director of the Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes presented the Human Brain Project, a European flagship aiming at integrating neuroscience and clinical data into unifying computer models of the Human brain. Dr Jirsa used specific work on brain network and epilepsy to show how this kind of ICT-based translational neuroscience could lead from network modelling to individual patient prediction.

Innovation for digital transformation

Innovation and technology were also on the agenda with talks from Amazon Web Services about their Research Cloud Program and from Deloitte about Blockchain in healthcare. For his part, Alexander Britz, Head of Internet of things at Microsoft underlined why there is a need for a digital transformation in healthcare and how the democratisation of artificial intelligence (AI) could facilitate the development of new digital healthcare products tailored to the patient’s needs. Then Justus Wolff from Syte Capital closed the session with a presentation about the boom in investments in Big Data and AI and the key factors that determine a successful digital health AI hub: data, algorithm and team.

From bench to bedside and vice versa

The conference closed with a session dedicated to the important link between the clinic and the lab during which Prof. Lars Juhl Jensen, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research in Copenhagen, presented his work on medical data and text mining, and more specifically a methodology to use the information contained in unstructured data such as doctor notes and adverse effect reports. The last talk of the conference by Jochen Klucken, Vice head of the department of molecular neurology at the University Hospital Erlangen, focused on smart healthcare technologies for chronic diseases such as the eGAIT system (wearable gait sensors for Parkinson’s patients). He concluded by stating the main objective: learn how to use these new data, make those digital innovations really beneficial for the patients and go towards a patient-centred, integrated and individualised healthcare.

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To know more about the conference.