Event: 24 March Bethesda MD Health Informatics Sponsored by Twitter @DCHealth2.0


Plan to join us the evening of March 24th to hear a rapid-fire series of short presentations from five Health Informatics leaders. The presentations will be followed by a panel style Q&A session that will explore a range of topics surrounding Health Informatics.

1. Exploring the role of medical image informatics in clinical practice: Outcomes from a usability study
2. Analytic Model for Open Space Approach to Health Policy
3. Sharing and Exploring Health Data, lessons from Merck and friends
4. Interactive Publications: The document as a research tool
5. A Universal Exchange Language Supports Comparative Effectiveness & Biomedical Research – Biomedical Informatics Think Tank™ (BITT™)

Complete Information Below the Line

The presentations will emphasize case studies and real world examples that highlight innovative use and results associated with health and bioinformatics. Each presenter is given no more than 5 minutes to present a case study/presentation highlighting the innovative use of health informatics within their health-related organization.

Registration is now open! To register for this event, visit the Health Informatics Pulse (HIP) site.

Speaker Line-Up

1. Exploring the role of medical image informatics in clinical practice: Outcomes from a usability study

Large number of articles in biomedical and engineering literature describe advances in medical image informatics and its potential for improving clinical practice, biomedical research and education. Although several systems have been developed to address particular needs surprisingly few are found to be in routine practical use. Our collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified a need to develop tools to annotate and search a collection of over 100,000 cervigrams and related, anonymized patient data. One such tool developed for a projected need for retrieving similar patient images is the prototype CBIR system, called CervigramFinder, which retrieves images based on the visual similarity of particular pathology regions on images of the uterine cervix. To explore its acceptance (and “user readiness”) into routine clinical use NLM conducted a usability study a primary national meeting of practicing experts. We used the study to also identify obstacles that hamper practical use of such systems. The technology and lessons learned from the usability study will be highlighted in this presentation.

Dr. Sameer Antani is a Staff Scientist with the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has expertise in data management (indexing, search and retrieval) for large biomedical image, text and multimedia archives. His research includes the topics in medical image analysis; content-based indexing, and retrieval of images (CBIR); combining image and text retrieval for biomedical informatics applications; developing next-generation interactive (multimedia rich) scientific publications; and exploring the role of hand-held devices in medicine. Dr. Antani is a member of the IEEE Computer Society, and SPIE. He is a vice-chair for the IEEE Technical Committee on Life Sciences and also serves on the editorial board of the Elsevier Journal of Computers in Biology and Medicine.

2. Analytic Model for Open Space Approach to Health Policy

An opportunity exists to radically advance the public demand for sensible affordable health care in the context of healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment. A new model offers the proponents of natural and alternative remediation an opportunity to capture the entire public health discussion by capturing and presenting to the public in compelling terms the actual true costs of preventable disease. Building on the recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers report “The cost of excess” (50% of every health dollar is the U.S., or $1.2 trillion a year, is waste), we can lead a health care revolution.

Robert Steele is a comprehensive architect and systems analyst in the tradition of Buckminster Fuller and Russell Ackoff. He has spent a lifetime in the profession of intelligence (decision-support) and most recently been the global proponent for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), training 7,500 officers across 66 governments. A prolific author, he has published on The New Craft of Intelligence, Information Operations, Creating a Smart Nation, Collective Intelligence, and most recently, Intelligence for Earth.

3. Sharing and Exploring Health Data, lessons from Merck and friends

Organizations are very good at aggregating large sets of data (pharmacy data, claims data, EMR data and translational research data). Typically, all this data is safely stored in separate silos and only a few individuals, data managers, with advanced database skills are able to understand the various data models, navigate the silos and retrieve data. There are two major problems with this approach, turnaround times for simple questions from users may take days while complex questions weeks to never. And as crucially hypothesis driven analysis of the data by subject matter experts is effectively blocked. We have addressed these issues at Merck and elsewhere by putting the query power directly into the hands of end users. Using our graphical, self diagramming web-based query tool, end users compose and modify their own queries and retrieve those results directly and quickly. They can do this without knowing any database language; they don’t even need to know where the data is stored. Even the data managers use this tool as it is faster than their traditional tool sets. Queries can be saved and even used as input for additional queries. As we have seen at Merck and other organizations, by increasing effective access to data, organizations extract more value from their data.

John Otride, Ph.D., has a strong interest in solving workflow challenges, at both strategic and operational levels, and has developed a career in program and product management. As Director of Program Management at BioFortis, he has built an exceptional cross-functional QA and client support team and is the driving force behind the efforts to define, implement and validate processes that meet both product development and client needs. In addition to overseeing the planning and delivery of the Labmatrix software application, John is responsible for delivery of client specific projects to customize Labmatrix. John received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1995.

4. Interactive Publications: The document as a research tool

The increasing prevalence of multimedia and research data generated by scientific work affords an opportunity to reformulate the idea of a scientific article from the traditional static document, or even one with links to supplemental material in remote databases, to a self-contained, multimedia-rich interactive publication. This talk describes our concept of such a document, and the design of tools for authoring (Forge) and visualization/analysis (Panorama). They are platform-independent applications written in Java, and developed in Eclipse (www.eclipse.org) using its Rich Client Platform (RCP) framework. Both applications operate on PDF files with links to XML files that define the media type, location, and action to be performed. Challenges include: the potentially large size of interactive publications, the need for evaluating their value to improved comprehension and learning, and the need for their long-term preservation by the National Library of Medicine and other libraries.

George Thoma is Chief of the Communications Engineering Branch of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, a research and development division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. In this capacity, he directs intramural R&D in mission-critical projects such as building imaging tools for cancer research, extraction of bibliographic data from medical articles to automatically populate NLM’s MEDLINE® database, digital preservation, animated virtual books, systems to aid family reunification in mass disaster events, a system to rapidly screen chest x-rays for TB and other lung diseases, and multimedia-rich interactive publications. These projects rely on techniques from document image analysis and understanding, biomedical image processing and machine learning, and appear at archive.nlm.nih.gov. He earned a B.S. from Swarthmore College, and the M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, all in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Thoma is a Fellow of the SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering, and the recipient of the NIH Director’s Award, Federal 100 and many other government and industry awards.

5. A Universal Exchange Language Supports Comparative Effectiveness & Biomedical Research – Biomedical Informatics Think Tank™ (BITT™)

Data capture for comparative effectiveness research (CER) would be greatly facilitated by multiple health care system EHRs integrated with the help of a “universal exchange language” (UEL) similar to that proposed in the recent President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Health IT Report. The resulting interoperable EHRs would provide large bodies of treatment-specific aggregate information in addition to further relevant, e.g. patient genomic, information. This resource will be readily extensible to all aspects of public health surveillance and to clinical decision support systems for improving the quality of care. The process of data analysis for the common good, as well as communications and general querying, would be greatly facilitated by a UEL. Not only would UEL, by definition, remove the problem of siloed patient data, but could itself be the information that is directly analyzed. The application of CER will ultimately result in safer, more effective drugs; improved care delivery, improved disease prevention, and overall cost savings. This presentation discusses methods and challenges of constructing a UEL, considering concerns expressed publically by several stakeholders in the definition of standards for interoperability of health IT systems.

The Biomedical Informatics Think Tank (BITT™) brings together experts, at major academic medical institutions, who have been working in the fields of health information management, clinical informatics, public health informatics, clinical research informatics, bioinformatics, data mining, and high performance computing over the last thirty years. These individuals are leaders in the field of biomedical informatics and many were involved in building the informatics infrastructure that supported the human genome project and have provided leadership in the development of the NCI Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid® (caBIG®), the largest single effort to integrate clinical and biomedical information for advancing biomedical research. Others are leaders in building a grid and cloud infrastructure to support academic science and biomedical informatics programs like caBIG.

Most recently, Dr. Thomas P. Caruso Ph.D., MBA, PMP, has built the Biomedical Informatics Think Tank™(BITT™), as a division of Projectivity, Inc. bringing together leaders in biomedical informatics at major academic institutions. He has been a strategic growth consultant for 25 years and works with clients in health, biotech, and government contractor companies, by assisting them in evaluating investments and product concepts, developing and launching new businesses, identifying and qualifying new opportunities, capturing business, and managing products/programs/projects. In addition to his consulting activities, Dr. Caruso recently worked as an SRA International contractor with the Division of Computational Biosciences in the Center for Information Technology at NIH where he was a project manager for biomedical informatics projects. Prior to this he was director of research initiatives for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech where he won and managed Virginia Tech’s first NIH training grants and spearheaded funding and design of an $8 million for an infectious disease research facility. Prior to this position he was manager of program development for Virginia Tech in the Office of the Vice President for Research where he managed industry relationships and build major research initiatives. Before coming to Virginia Tech, Dr. Caruso was a project leader for a financial systems developer, Sungard (previously National Computer Systems). Dr. Caruso has a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in management from the MIT Sloan School of Business, as well as Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Event Logistics


6:00pm – 6:30pm Registration and Networking

6:30pm – 7:15pm Presentation

7:15pm – 7:30pm Q&A

7:30pm – Additional Networking

As always, we want to make sure to give thanks to our sponsors, Aquilent, Sapient, Palladian Partners, and MicroStrategy. Because of their support, we have been able to continue creating some really informative events, as well as, offer some great appetizers and beverages for all that attend the meetup. You can follow us on twitter @DCHealth2_0