gms | German Medical Science

49. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (gmds)
19. Jahrestagung der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik (SGMI)
Jahrestagung 2004 des Arbeitskreises Medizinische Informatik (ÖAKMI)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie
Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik (SGMI)

26. bis 30.09.2004, Innsbruck/Tirol

Structuring European Biomedical Informatics to Support Individualised Healthcare : The INFOBIOMED approach

Meeting Abstract (gmds2004)

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Hans-Peter Eich - Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Deutschland
  • C. Ohmann - Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Deutschland
  • F. Martin-Sanchez - Bioinformatics Unit, Institute of Health Carlos III, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spanien
  • C. Diaz - Biomedical Informatics Research Group, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, IMIM, Barcelona, Spanien
  • F. Sanz - Biomedical Informatics Research Group, Municipal Institute of Medical Research, IMIM, Barcelona, Spanien

Kooperative Versorgung - Vernetzte Forschung - Ubiquitäre Information. 49. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (gmds), 19. Jahrestagung der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik (SGMI) und Jahrestagung 2004 des Arbeitskreises Medizinische Informatik (ÖAKMI) der Österreichischen Computer Gesellschaft (OCG) und der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Biomedizinische Technik (ÖGBMT). Innsbruck, 26.-30.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04gmds103

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Veröffentlicht: 14. September 2004

© 2004 Eich et al.
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Classical epidemiological and clinical research on the one hand, and genomic research on the other, separately considered, are no longer enough for advancing in the so-called genomic medicine [1]. The INFOBIOMED Network of Excellence has been recently constituted with the main objective of setting a durable structure for the collaborative approach at a European level to bridge the current gap between Medical Informatics (MI) and Bioinformatics (BI). The integration and exploitation of all the data and information generated at all levels by these disciplines requires a new synergetic approach that enables a two-way dialogue between them [2]. The BIOINFOMED Study ( has recently gathered a series of European organisations in order to carry out a prospective analysis of the relationships and synergy between BI and MI [3]. The study concludes that there is a great potential for synergy between both disciplines with a view on continuity and individualisation of healthcare. It identifies also some barriers and conflicts that currently hamper the realisation of BMI, as well as some scientific, organisational, cultural and ethical issues that will require careful consideration during this integrative process.

The specific objectives of the INFOBIOMED network are:

• To enable systematic progress in clinical and genetic data interoperability and integration (e.g. enrichment of patient records, fostering of functional genomics research, promotion of standards).

• To advance the exchange and interfacing of methods, tools and technologies used in both MI and BI, and to explore common emerging technologies.

• To enable pilot applications in particular fields that demonstrate the benefits of a synergetic approach in BMI.

• To create an European BMI community that extends beyond the proposed core network to serve as an open forum for discussion and dialogue.

• To widely spread the knowledge acquired and developed to the scientific community, healthcare professionals, citizens, industry and authorities.

• To enable a robust framework for education in BMI, as well as training and mobility of involved researchers.

• To create a long-lasting, self-sustainable structure in the European BMI field (e.g. development of communication tools, ongoing analysis of the ethical, political and societal challenges that arise in connection with BMI).


During an initial three-year period, the network will be structured by activities designed to cover all the significant aspects that are relevant to both MI and BI and that have the potential to provide a space for synergy between them. These aspects are included in two separate blocks of activities, one for data interoperability and management, and the other for methods, technologies and tools. All the knowledge gathered in the framework of these 'horizontal' activities will be tested into four 'vertical' pilot applications that aim to cover the whole range of information levels from molecule to population [Fig. 1].

On the other hand, a set of complementary activities is included for promoting integration of the research carried out in the fields of reference. These activities aim at spreading the excellence and attracting external researchers to the common space created by the network, reinforcing the BI field by creating and improving the European research capacity in the field, and providing platforms for a virtual collaborative environment. They will encompass dissemination and communication activities and training and mobility programmes. Finally, the coordination and management of all of these activities is represented by separate tasks, which include assessment of progress and impact of the network according to its integrative objective.


This programme of activities requires the participation of organisations with distinct profiles. The INFOBIOMED network gathers some of the most prestigious European research groups with a strong background and experience. Also technological groups that will ensure the application of state-of-the-art information tools and technologies (ontologies, web services, Grid, etc.) and their interoperability are included. Finally, several biomedical research labs will offer real data and validate the network tools and methods in a number of paradigmatic biomedical research areas, as described above.

The core of the INFOBIOMED network, formed by 15 renowned institutions that currently develop critical research in MI, BI and related fields, has been designed to offer the necessary critical mass to create a chain effect in the field at the European level that can foster the pursued integrative and structuring effort [Fig. 2]:

Erasmus University Medical Center (MI-EMC), Danish Center for Health Telematics (FUNEN), University of Düsseldorf (HHUD), Karolinska Institute (KI), University of Edinburgh (UEdin), Institute of Health "Carlos III" (ISCIII), Municipal Institute of Medical Research (IMIM), Informa S.r.l. (INFORMA), Custodix nv (CUSTODIX), Polytechnical University of Madrid (UPM), University of Aveiro (UAVR), Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH), AstraZeneca R&D Mölndal (AZ), the Danish HNPCC-Register (HNPCC) and the Academisch Centrum Tandheelkunde Amsterdam (ACTA).


Following an initiative of the European Commission, INFOBIOMED offers an innovative networking approach that intends to exploit the potential synergies of already established scientific disciplines for the empowerment of an emerging one. This structuring effort seeks to deploy the promised benefits of the genomic revolution to society by combining the expertise and experience acquired through the, up to now, independent development of both BI and MI. Past and present integration initiatives in that respect suffer from an excessive isolation or only address the problem partially; INFOBIOMED represents the global integrative vision and joint effort required to overcome the obstacles that are delaying the development of true genomic medicine.


The INFOBIOMED Network of Excellence is funded by the European Commission within its FP6 Programme, under the thematic area "Information Society Technologies", contract number 507585.


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