Optique in Healthcare is growing

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This year’s allocation of grants for regional innovation projects have now been decided by Norwegian Health authorities responsible for the South-Eastern part of Norway (Health South-East). More than 15 million NOK has been designated for projects in immunotherapy, diagnosis, vaccine technology, lighting technology, rehabilitation and strategic innovation to reduce harmful events for patients.

Health South-East has awarded strategic innovation funds to Akershus University Hospital (Ahus), by the Division Director Ivar Thor Jonsson for the project “Development of a semantic IT solution and ontology for clinical use in health care”. The project has been awarded 2MNOK and is defined as a strategic innovation project.

The extent of patient adverse events in Norway has been stable at a high level in recent years, and it’s mostly the same types of damage that recur. This means there is a large potential for learning and innovation. Ministry of Health has an ambition to adverse events to be reduced by 25 percent by the end of 2018. For Health South-East the annual payments for treating these adverse events sums to 500 million.

Against this background, the Health South-East challenged communities to develop solutions in a whole new way that can help reduce adverse events. Application deadline was April 29, and two of 14 projects have received funding. One such project was the; “Development of a semantic IT solution and ontology for clinical use in healthcare”.

Many of the IT systems that healthcare is dependent on, communicate poorly with each other. In addition, much of the information is represented in unstructured text files, such as medical records. We will develop a tool that enables search and compilation of information in the system and thereby achieve improved logistics and increased patient safety and care said Division Director Ivar Thor Jonsson at Ahus.

In collaboration with the company DNV GL and the University of Oslo a pilot project in the surgical division, tied back to the EU funded research project Optique, was performed last winter. This project demonstrated how modern semantic data technology can be used to integrate data from many parallel data sources without any intermediate storage. The tailor made ontology, based on standard medical ontologies, was used to translate the clinical language to a language the computer systems understood and could be used for both search and compilation of information. This pilot study focused on gathering information to “operational messages” at the Day-surgery Center and was, according to Jonsson very successful. Based on the results from this pilot study further development of the solution into a system that can be used for the entire health care sector has been planned.

Link to Health South East article (in Norwegian).