We are living in the information age, characterized by the shift from traditional industry to an economy based on information computerization. Ten years after the first iPhone appeared on the market, digitization has become habitual: there is hardly any professional or private area in this world not affected by digitization. This also applies to health care.
Our vision for healthcare in the information age is to improve clinical decision making and the effectiveness and efficiency of health systems by data methods and technology:
• Integrate available data and information for biomedical research.
• Provide information, knowledge and decision support to patients and healthcare professionals.
As medical data scientists, we develop methods for clinical research and provide them to clinical researchers, manufacturers and clinicians. In the information age, we are important actors in the health care systems.
Ubiquitous information technology profoundly changes the sociotechnical system of health care: Patients are empowered by information technology, health care professionals are overwhelmed by the complexity and the magnitude of the data, not being trained to deal with it. This accelerates shared decision-making, requiring other skills from physicians as well as new ways to how medical knowledge is provided. As of now, availability of information is not the crucial point. Rather, selecting relevant information and assessing the quality of the information remains a challenge.
Information technology also has an impact on hierarchy and communication paths in the hospitals. Similar to the development, introduction and evaluation of new medical procedures, we must understand all effects on the target system in the application of information technology. This is an obligatory prerequisite to determine the benefit of what and to be able to control the risks of side effects. We have to face the fact that the increasing impact of information technology on patient care is directly linked to our own commitment to apply the principles of evidence-based medicine.
We can only master this challenge together: It is necessary for all stakeholders, scientist, clinicians and patients to work together in research and health care. We need to bridge!
• Bridging the various disciplines in the Data Sciences
• Bridging data scientists and clinicians
• Bridging different healthcare professionals
• Bridging science and society
• Bridging providers and patients!
GMDS 2017 catalyzes constructing these bridges.
Finally some data: Two-hundred-and-forty contributions were submitted, among 77 full papers. These were reviewed in a two stage interdisciplinary peer-reviewing process: A total of 766 reviews, some of which were very comprehensive, were produced by 186 reviewers. 42 full papers are accepted for publication in this volume of Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. We cordially thank all authors and reviewers for this work at the scientific core of the conference.