Research project ‘cloud4health’ is funded by the Federal Government


Research project ‘cloud4health’ is funded by the Federal Government

  • Consortium of industry und public institutions is awarded 1st prize at technology competition ‘Trusted Cloud’
  • First secure Cloud Computing infrastructure for IT applications in the Health Sector

Hannover, 01 March 2011. The research project ‘cloud4health’ is one of the prize winners of the technology competition ‘Secure Internet Services – Secure Cloud Computing for mid-sized companies and the public sector (Trusted Cloud) and will be funded in the future with subsidies from the Federal Government. This was announced today by the Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology (BMWi) on the first day of the trade fair CeBIT in Hannover. The research project „cloud4health“ shall for the first time ever provide a „Trusted Cloud„ infrastructure for IT applications in the Health Sector. The ‘cloud4health’ consortium consists of reputable partners from industry and public institutions. These include the Freiburg Software company Averbis GmbH, the research institute Fraunhofer SCAI, the Technology and Method Platform for networked Medical Research (TMF e.V.), the University Erlangen, as well as the Rhön Clinic AG.

With ‘Trusted Cloud’, the Federal Ministry for Economy and Technology (BMWi) supports the development and testing of innovative, secure and lawful Cloud Computing services with altogether approx. 50 Mio. Euros. Then there are capital resources of the same amount from those involved in the project, making a total of approx. 100 Mio. Euros available. The Federal Ministry technology program ‘Trusted Cloud’ is part of the promotional program Cloud Computing that the Federal Ministry is to start in October of 2010, together with partners from Economy and Science.

More efficient use of medical raw data

‘cloud4health’ taps into large medical raw data inventories for the data protection-friendly evaluation of various issues from the areas of Research, Development and Health Economy. The approach combines text analysis and data warehouse technologies and can be made available either privately or in the public cloud, depending on the need. Altogether three application scenarios will be implemented: the extraction and evaluation of information from anonymized patient data through the operative treatment of hip joints, the development of processes for the automated plausibility and profitability checks of medical treatments, as well as the early identification of undesired side effects of newly introduced medications with the help of automated processes.

The individual members of the consortium split the tasks as follows:

  • Averbis – as consortium head, Averbis provides Cloud-based text analysis software.
  • The Fraunhofer Institute SCAI – aside from providing text mining technologies, the Fraunhofer Institute SCAI assumes the hosting of the Cloud infrastructure.
  • The TMF e.V. (Technology and Method Platform for Networked Medical Research) – the TMF e.V is a trusted partner for the Cloud infrastructure and develops the necessary data protection concepts.
  • The Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) develops tools for the evaluation of medical data and tests the Cloud applications at the University Clinic Erlangen.
  • The Rhön Clinic AG – with its over 50 clinics, the Rhön Clinic AG is involved in the realization of the application scenarios and reviews the obtained knowledge with regard to its capability to standardize and optimize corresponding treatment processes.

Increase usability and acceptability of Cloud Technologies in Germany

The promotional measure ‘Trusted Cloud’ is part of the Cloud Computing initiative started under the auspices of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, supported by an alliance from the sectors Economy, Science and Politics. The promotional measure ‘Trusted Cloud’ is to accelerate and strengthen research activities and significantly increase both the usability and the acceptability of Cloud technologies for broader user levels, giving above all mid-sized companies and the public sector the opportunity to profit early from the use of the newest IKT concepts.

Cloud Computing is currently considered one of the most important trends in IT. The technology offers the possibility to obtain customer-specified memory and computing capacity and applications on the internet as a service, allowing for requirement-oriented and flexible use, which can be billed according to range of functions, use duration and number of users.

Voices of the members of the consortium

Dr. Philipp Daumke, Managing Director of Averbis GmbH:
‘Including the TMF as an independent non-profit organization guarantees a high level of protection of sensitive medical data. This will strengthen the trust of the Health Sector in Cloud Computing and thus open the possibility of also offering data-sensitive applications in the future. Particularly in the secondary use of clinical routine data, current market studies of Cloud attest to an enormous market potential and see a billion dollar market in the use of primary clinical data in pharmacological research alone.’

Prof. Dr. Martin Hofmann-Apitius, Head of the Department Bioinformatics, Fraunhofer SCAI:
‘We find the cloud4health project unique, as it enables us to combine two of the core competencies of the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Economic Calculation (SCAI) in the project at the same time: aside from our expertise in the area of Cloud-based solutions, an internationally distinguished team of experts with substantial experience in the field of biomedical Text Mining is also involved in the project. With the hardware of the SCAI, recently optimized by measures of the ‚Green IT’ with regard to its energy efficiency, our institute is also providing a significant part of the computer infrastructure required for successful project implementation.’

Sebastian Claudius Semler, Technology and Method Platform for networked Medical Research (TMF e.V.):
‘The TMF is very glad to be able to accompany the further development of existing know-how with Grid technologies for the Life Sciences, e.g. from MediGRID, PneumoGrid and other projects of the D-Grid, to reliable and marketable Cloud-Services. At the same time, the cloud4health project is preparing a very important field for medical care research – the text-analysis-based use of electronic patient files and medical care data.’

Prof. Dr. Ulli Prokosch, CIO of the University Clinic Erlangen:
‘The secondary use of data from electronic medical files has until now been almost exclusively limited to the use of structured data. A major part of medical information however is still almost only available in the form of free texts in diagnoses and doctors reports. The cloud4health opens up completely new possibilities of also using this information from electronic medical files and tapping into it to generate new medical knowledge.’

Prof. Dr. Kurt Marquardt, IT Head, Rhön Clinic AG:
‘The RHÖN CLINIC AG is always interested in tapping into medical knowledge to improve patient care. The cloud4health project will set the conditions for generating knowledge from the many data inventories and to put them to good use. The RHÖN CLINIC AG will incorporate its medical expertise in the evaluation of the retrieval processes and the validation of the data.’

Short profiles of the partners

Averbis GmbH
Averbis GmbH is a specialist for text analysis solutions and present everywhere companies require effective searching of data, its contextual structuring and specific evaluation. We possess particular know-how in the Health Sector, the Pharmaceutical Industry, Libraries and in Publishing. With the Averbis solutions, information can be extracted from text collections and databases and research process automated in no time, considerably sinking costs and increasing the productivity in information management and ensuring a decisive competitive edge for our customers.

Fraunhofer Insitute SCAI
The Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Calculation SCAI is a partner of Computer Simulation and Optimization, as well as for information extraction from large data inventories. The institute models and optimizes industrial applications, develops software and services for product development, process development and production, and offers calculations on high-performance computers. In the department of Bio-Informatics, the Fraunhofer SCAI offers its customers comprehensive services in the areas of information extraction (Text Mining), applied Chemo-Informatics, as well as Cloud Computing and Cloud Middleware.

Technology and Method Platform for networked Medical Research (TMF e.V.)
As the umbrella organization of medical research associations, the TMF ensures the organizational and infrastructural improvement of networked medical research. It supports the researchers in identifying and jointly solving the organizational, legal and technological problems arising at diverse locations, often independent of the particular clinical issues and fields of research. The members include, among others, the competency networks in Medicine, networks for rare diseases, psychotherapy networks, Zoonosis Alliances, coordination centers for clinical studies, the National Genome research net (NGFN), institutes of the Fraunhofer Association , as well as the Mucoviscidosis Institute and a patient organization.

Friedrich-Alexander Universiy Erlangen-Nürnberg
The Chair for Medical Informatics at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg has many years of experience in the areas of the Architecture of Electronic Medical Files, of data warehousing and the tapping into and visualization of medical information. As one of the first Chairs in Germany, it deals with the challenges, problems and options in the use of data from electronic medical files for clinical and translational research and is involved in several national and international research projects on this topic.

The RHÖN CLINICUM AG is one of the largest health service providers in Germany. Their business objective is to provide high-quality medicine for everyone. We are currently made up of 54 clinics at 43 locations, as well as 35 ambulatory health care centers country-wide. We employ more than 37,000 workers. More than two million people were treated in the fiscal year 2000 in the facilities of the hospital group.

Averbis GmbH

Averbis GmbH is a specialist for text analysis solutions and present everywhere companies require effective searching of data, its contextual structuring and specific evaluation. The core strength is the analysis of unstructured and structured data, e.g. social media data, news, web resources, reports, patents, company-internal data, emails and research literature. The Averbis software enables the tapping into and evaluation of these knowledge sources and the automation of information processes. By integrating in existing business processes, the solutions contribute to lowering costs, boosting productivity, founded decision-making and better prognoses. Particular know-how exists in the Health Sector, the Pharmaceutical Industry, Libraries and in Publishing. Averbis was founded in 2007 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

Press Contact

Averbis GmbH
Nicole Koppe
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D – 79098 Freiburg i. Br.
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