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"Data is like gold"

About two hundred people participated in the European Congress at Erasmus MC about standardization of medical data. "Data is like gold. To dig it up, you need to work together."

First annual European Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) symposium
Congress visitors received a black jacket to wear; with a nod to standardization   

The first annual OHDSI Europe Symposium called 'Bridging Europe' was held at Erasmus MC's educational center in late March. More than 200 people from many countries in Europe, U.S., and Asia participated in this very successfull event. All stakeholders were represented including, pharmaceutical companies, academia, patient organizations, European Medicines Agency etc. In total 40 posters were presented and multiple software demos were given.

Large-scale analytics
The Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (or OHDSI, pronounced "Odyssey") program is a multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary collaborative to bring out the value of health data through large-scale analytics. OHDSI aims to generate accurate, reproducible, and well-calibrated evidence and promote better health decisions and better care.

Healthcare data can vary greatly from one organization to the next. Data are collected for different purposes, such as provider reimbursement, clinical research, and direct patient care. These data may be stored in different formats using different database systems and information models. And despite the growing use of standard terminologies in healthcare, the same concept (e.g., blood glucose) may be represented in a variety of ways from one setting to the next.

Open-source tools
Data standardization is the critical process of bringing data into a common format that allows for collaborative research, large-scale analytics, and sharing of sophisticated tools and methodologies. OHDSI is deeply involved in the evolution and adoption of a Common Data Model known as the OMOP Common Data Model. They provide resources to convert a wide variety of datasets into the CDM, as well as a plethora of tools to take advantage of your data once it is in CDM format. All these tools are open-source.

OHDSI has established a global network of researchers and observational health databases with a central coordinating center housed at Columbia University. OHDSI Europe is led by the coordinating center at the Department of Medical Informatics of Erasmus MC (Dr. Peter Rijnbeek, Prof Dr. Johan van der Lei). Its aim is to build a strong European OHDSI community that actively contributes to the further extension of the OMOP-CDM and analytical tool development in close collaboration with all stakeholders.
Panel symposium OHDSI

Date published: 30 March 2018.

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