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Antrittsvorlesung „From punch card-based medical documentation to cloud-based health monitoring. New challenges in Medical Informatics are faced at the Peter L. Reichertz Institute (PLRI)“ 27.06.2018 | 17:00 Uhr - 18:30 Uhr

Computational power and data storage capacity were fairly limited when Peter L. Reichertz started to build a medical computing center at the Hannover Medical School (MHH), in 1969. Fifty years ago, punch cards were used to store data and algorithms, and just a few data from manually selected inpatients of the MHH were analyzed statistically for computer-based consultations of physicians. At that time, providing “the right information at the right place at the right time” has been worded by Reichertz as paradigm of “Medical Informatics” (MI), the scientific discipline of applied computing in medicine.

Today, computational power and data storage capacities are almost unlimited. Using smart mobile devices that are connected to the Internet, big data and real-time analytics are available nearly anywhere and anytime. In addition, the sensors that are used for health data recording have been spread from just a few with high quality (e.g., a hospital-based computed tomography imaging unit) to many of low quality (e.g., wristwatch-integrated pulse rate measuring units). Among others, MI currently is required to transit from

  • recording rare but clear towards common but noisy data (device to subject);
  • managing isolated data repositories towards data integration centers;
  • analyzing specific towards diverse data sources (sensomics);
  • providing knowledge-based systems towards semantic data analytics,
  • ending-up with disease-related statistics (and epidemiology) towards patient-centered (personalized) medical decision support (and event prediction).

Beside the still existing challenges (i) to semantically interconnect hospital information systems (intra-sectoral) and (ii) to provide a unified medical health record to all humans (electronic health record, EHR), that is (iii) interchanged and updated from all healthcare providers (inter-sectoral, i.e., between the stationary, ambulant, rehabilitation, and home care sectors) and (iv) lifelong capturing all the relevant medical data based on a master patient index (MPI), future MI additionally requires (v) semantic data analytics that is based on diverse sources and multiple sensors: in near future, continuous health-related monitoring will be performed using sensors and computational power that are embedded to devices at all levels of distanced to humans: smart implants, smart clothes, smart vehicles, smart homes, and smart cities. Therefore, the updated MI-paradigm shall read: providing “the right forecast for a specific subject longest ahead the predicted event”.

PLRI is targeting that novel paradigm combining method- with process-oriented research. Six labs have been established, for instance the Biosignal Lab, where novel biosensors are developed and tested; and the 24/7 Registries, where health data management is performed in real-life applications. These process-oriented labs are related to five method-oriented fields of research: (i) information systems & management, (ii) health-enabling technologies, (iii) accident & emergency informatics, (iv) mobile health (mHealth), and (v) electronic learning (eLearning). All these fields aim at appropriately organizing, representing, and analyzing medical information and knowledge to face the recent MI-challenges.


Prof. Dr. Thomas Deserno, Peter L. Reichertz Institut für Medizinische Informatik

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