Digitization in medicine: leveraging enormous potential
DigiMed Bayern Symposium outlines the path to a "medicine of the future"

DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022

DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022: Dr. Thomas Huber (Head of Department 1 "Coordination, Digitalisation, Innovation, State Office for Social Security Examination", Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care), Anja Kroke (Project Manager DigiMed Bayern), Joanna Wardzinski (Health Tech and Operations Lead, AWS International Public Sector Healthcare), Prof. Horst Domdey (Manging Director BioM) and Prof. Schunkert (Director Deutsches Herzzentrum München). (from left) © BioM

Picture gallery DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022

Movie of the Deutsches Herzzentrum München about the DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022 with interviews (in German)

Munich-based BioM Biotech Cluster Development GmbH and the Deutsches Herzzentrum München hosted the annual DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022: Big Data and AI: Can Medicine Do the Doable? on October 6 at the Gene Center Munich. This year, the DigiMed Bayern partners discussed together with top-class speakers from international politics, medical research, and industry: about successful project examples for P4 medicine, about infrastructure and pilot projects for the use of digital health data and about Germany's progress in the field of "Digital Health" in international comparison.

The Bavarian flagship project DigiMed Bayern aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes and represents data-based personalized medicine - using the widespread disease atherosclerosis as an example. The flagship project, which has been funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care with with a total volume of 24.5 million euros since 2018, pursues as the so-called P4 medicine. The goal is a personalized (tailored), preventive (avoiding), predictive (predicting) and participatory (participating) medicine of the future.

Klaus Holetschek, Bavaria's Minister of State for Health and Care, welcomed the audience in a video message and emphasized the importance of the project and the use of personal health data for biomedical and medical technology research, development and innovation in Bavaria: "We support the DigiMed Bayern flagship project with great conviction. P4 medicine is considered one of the most promising medical developments of our time worldwide and enables personalized and thus improved healthcare for citizens. More and more medical information is being digitized. Innovative Big Data and Artificial Intelligence technologies are helping us to make health-related data usable and to apply it meaningfully! It is important to reach an agreement in society as a whole and to connect all players in our healthcare system to pursue common goals."

This year, the top-class DigiMed Bayern Symposium highlighted the potential of digital medicine in three sessions: From the successful use of health data from the Vroni study for the prevention of early genetic diseases in children to the mobile health app HerzFit, which enables users to manage their heart health (participatory). P4 medicine projects were also outlined, which aim to enable personalized medicine by incorporating clinical and omics data, as well as data from epidemiological and clinical studies. Both ethically and legally, the responsible use of personal and digitized health data was discussed.

Prof. Heribert Schunkert, Director of Deutsches Herzzentrum München and scientific director of DigiMed Bayern, is also convinced: "If we use digitization in medicine properly, its application has enormous potential for the successful implementation of P4 medicine for the benefit of patients. This symposium has once again clearly demonstrated how important this step is and the multitude of possibilities it opens up for a future medicine."

The session "Infrastructure & Pilot Projects" discussed the secondary use of healthcare data for biomedical research, development, and innovation in Bavaria. Globally, the use of cloud solutions to store and use data for science and business is increasing. The participants therefore discussed the necessary framework conditions for a sustainable and secure cloud infrastructure.

"The first secure cloud infrastructure for biomedical research data is being prototyped as part of DigiMed Bayern. We can demonstrate the technical feasibility of a secure cloud that collaboratively stores and processes biomedical research data in a DSGVO-compliant manner," says Dr. Jens Wiehler, Managing Director DigiMed Bayern. "It is now important to make our experience available for the establishment of a corresponding infrastructure and to further develop it into a sustainable data ecosystem."

In the third and final round, "International Benchmarking," speakers shared their views and experiences from the perspective of lawyers, service providers and pharmaceutical companies. The contribution from IT service provider Amazon Web Services opened up a view on the German healthcare market in international comparison. Finland, as a leading country in the EU, outlined its path to a necessary legal framework. Supplemented by the perspective of the research-based pharmaceutical industry, it became clear that Germany has to catch up with other EU countries in this field.

Prof. Dr. Horst Domdey, Managing Director of BioM Biotech Cluster Development GmbH, sums it up: "If we do not succeed in offering up-to-date cloud technologies in Bavaria also, this would definitely lead to a decline in international competitiveness in research and development with health data. The founding of new companies from academic and clinical research, the growth of existing ones and the establishment of foreign companies will then unfortunately take place in other countries - and not here in Bavaria. Therefore, in order to reduce the risk of dependence on solutions developed and produced elsewhere, as well as the loss of expertise and skilled personnel in our own country, it is necessary to act as quickly as possible. What needs to be done to achieve this and what framework conditions have to be created was discussed at this symposium."

The next DigiMed Bayern Symposium is planned for the end of 2023.

Impressions of the DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022

Pictures you will find under: Photo Gallery DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022

A film of the Deutsches Herzzentrum München with interviews can be found under: Video DigiMed Bayern Symposium 2022 (in German)

About DigiMed Bayern

The DigiMed Bayern flagship project started at the end of 2018 with approximately 22 million euros in funding from the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care (StMGP) as part of the BAYERN DIGITAL II master plan. The project goal is to integrate P4 medicine (predictive, preventive, personalised, participatory) in the specific indication of atherosclerosis into everyday clinical practice. The ultimate aim is to improve the prediction of disease risks, targeted prevention as well as diagnosis and therapy. To this end, extensive health data of patients with atherosclerosis are collected and analysed. The scientific director of DigiMed Bavaria is Prof. Heribert Schunkert from the German Heart Centre Munich. BioM Biotech Cluster Development GmbH is responsible for the management and project coordination. World-leading consortium partners from Bavaria such as hospitals, patient organisations and research institutions are also involved in the project.

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About Familial Hypercholesterolaemia

FH is a congenital disorder of lipid metabolism that, if left untreated, can cause severe cardiovascular disease at a young age. In Germany, it is estimated that there are over 270,000 carriers of the genetic defect, of whom only less than 1% are diagnosed. In FH, cholesterol is deposited on the walls of the blood vessels at a young age. Undetected and untreated, this can lead to vascular occlusion, heart attacks and strokes in early adulthood. The risk of a cardiovascular event is increased by a factor of 5 to 20 but can be reduced to normal if diagnosed early and treated consistently.

About the Vroni Study

The Vroni Study aims to implement and evaluate a nationwide screening in Bavaria for children aged 5 to 14 years for the early diagnosis of FH. It is supported by the Bavarian State Ministry for Health and Care (StMGP). Up to 50,000 school children are to be tested. On this study basis, the diagnosis and therapy situation for affected persons of all age groups throughout Germany is to be improved in the future. Participation in the Bavaria-wide programme is free of charge and can take place within the framework of the screening examinations U9 to J1 (5 to 14 years), but also during any other visit to the paediatrician. Any family who would like to have their children examined can contact their paediatrician and adolescent doctor. The Vroni study is led by the German Heart Centre Munich (DHM), funded by the StMGP as part of the DigiMed Bavaria project and carried out in cooperation with the Professional Association of Paediatricians and Adolescent Doctors (BVKJ) LV Bayern.

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