The joint annual conference of the Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie (GMDS) e.V. and the Technologie- und Methodenplattform für die vernetzte medizinische Forschung (TMF) e.V. took place from 26 to 30 September 2021. Originally, this event was to be held in presence in Kiel and was therefore chaired by Prof. Dr. Björn Bergh (conference president GMDS) and Prof. Dr. Michael Krawczak (conference president TMF). However, due to the Corona pandemic, the conference was held 100% virtually – as already in 2020 – but this year with extended live parts from a conference studio on the premises of the Kiel Institute for Medical Statistics and Informatics.
The conference was officially opened on Monday morning by Prof. Bergh, Prof. Krawczak and Prof. Dr. Alfred Winter (President GMDS). This was followed by a welcoming address by the Schleswig-Holstein Minister of Education, Karin Prien, and a speech by the Chairman of the Board of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Prof. Dr. Jens Scholz, who once again emphasised the importance of hospital digitisation.
In accordance with its motto “Digital Medicine – Discover, Understand, Heal”, the conference focused on the topics of digitalisation, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics. In the 23 lecture sessions and 15 workshops from the fields of medical informatics, biometrics/statistics, epidemiology and public health, an intensive exchange took place among the more than 670 participants. A total of 104 submitted contributions from a broad range of topics were presented in this setting; in the ePoster section, more than 50 exciting poster contributions from the various disciplines could be viewed.
Particularly current topics of broad interest were presented in the form of keynotes. First, Prof. Dr. Mirjam Kretzschmar (UMC Utrecht, NL) gave insights into the mathematical modelling of the Corona pandemic and presented recent findings from various working groups. Jordan Everson Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, USA) spoke about his own research successes in the field of “Evolving Strategies for Measuring Digital Health”, highlighting ways to improve hospital measurement systems. Tuesday continued with contributions from Professor Enrico Coiera (Macquarie University Sydney, AUS) on “Artificial Intelligence in Medicine – The Implementation Challenge” and Prof. Dr. Jan Baumbach (University of Hamburg) on “Privacy-preserving Systems in Medicine”, who presented a Federal Learning System. On Wednesday morning, Friedelm Leverkus (Pfizer Germany) spoke on “Private-Public Cooperation in Research with Healthcare-Related Data”, including the Missing Data Crisis during the Corona Pandemic. In the evening, Professor Raymond Ng (University of British Columbia, Vancover) surprised the audience with exciting insights on “Natural Language Understanding Tools for Clinical Documents”. The last contribution on Thursday morning was made by Prof. Dr. Anne-Laure Boulesteix (LMU Munich) under the title “A replication crisis in methodological computational research?”. In the accompanying live talks, the conference presidents together with Prof. Winter, Prof. Schreiweis and other guests deepened the content of the lectures.
On Thursday afternoon the conference came to a successful conclusion with a summary by Prof. Bergh, Prof. Krawczak, Prof. Schreiweis and Prof. Winter and a musical contribution by the “GMDS Allstars”.
The organisers would like to thank all the experts for the great insights into their research areas. The reference to current international health policy issues once again impressively underlined the relevance of the topics of GMDS and TMF for medicine in Germany.