AURIA CLINICAL INFORMATICS (ACI)
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Turku University Hospital
Auria Clinical Informatics P.O. Box 52, FI-20521 Turku, Finland, FI-20521, Turku (Finland)
The information accumulating from the treatment of patients is a valuable data source. Globally, this information is often fragmented, outdated, and of low quality. Researchers and specialists need high-quality information to develop new drugs and forms of care, and to analyze the impact of the current forms of care.
A special unit at Turku University Hospital (TUH), Auria Clinical Informatics (ACI), provides Research as a Service (RaaS) for academic researchers and companies. Information sources used in the analysis combine patient data from the Turku University Hospital, hospital districts of Satakunta and Vaasa, and Auria Biobank – the first fully operational biobank in Finland. ACI has access to structural, textual, signal and imaging data that originates from the clinical processes. Together with the medical domain knowledge, advanced statistics, artificial intelligence and visual analytics, this provides a comprehensive ‘360-degree’ view of the patient care.
We offer expert services for defining, compiling and analyzing the data. Our RaaS service complies with good research practice and scientific practice by developing, among others, rigorous but enabling privacy policies for register research. In case that clients wish to perform data science themselves (or assisted by our skilled staff), ACI provides safe and efficient cloud computing environment at a dedicated hospital network cluster. This setup eliminates the need for copying and storing sensitive data at clients’ own servers; ACI will take care of all the legal and technical aspects of information security. Currently, the computing environment of ACI has machine learning capabilities through Python, R and ordinary CPU by default. GPU computing is provided as an option through the Finnish CSC IT Center for Science Ltd.
ACI is part of a larger healthcare development ecosystem Health Campus Turku (HCT). The ecosystem forms a significant multidisciplinary knowledge cluster within medicine, social and health care, and technology, offering unique opportunities for research, innovation and corporate collaboration. Health Campus Turku collaboration involves the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Novia University of Applied Sciences and Turku Science Park Ltd.
Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
Digital Finland Framework. As the national strategic framework states, “Digital transformation of industries and society is a key element for growth, entrepreneurship, job creation and welfare.” The framework supports the effective coordination of sustainable digital transformation in Finland. In the core of the transformation are test environments and technology platforms, of which the ACI is a prime example and the national forerunner in the field of healthcare.
Vision and road map of the Research and Innovation Council Finland. The Finnish public and private sector together invest 4% of the GDP in research and innovation activities. These investments improve, for their part, the wellbeing of the population and society. To ensure that Finland current position as an attractive and competent environment for experimentation and innovation, a national road map for innovation activities was defined. In the road map, data and artificial intelligence are defined as key drivers for platform economy. ACI as competence platform is an enabler that helps in making the vision of the road map to come true.
In 2017 the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation published the national roadmap for digital platform economy. The report depicts the current situation, and paints a comprehensive national vision, roadmap and implementation plan for digital platform economy. In the roadmap, concrete actions such as a) developing the knowledge base, resources and tools, and b) showing example by open public data and platforms launched by the public sector are listed. ACI makes these actions a reality, providing trustworthy and comprehensive services for using the up-to-date clinical information in different research and development activities.
Research, innovation, and growth strategy for the healthcare sector is defined by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy. The focus point of the strategy is to lay foundation for health care ecosystems, such as the Health Campus Turku and ACI as part of it, that are elemental in the paradigm change of the Finnish healthcare landscape. Instead of focusing on research, where Finland has been one of the leading countries in the world, innovation activities should be taken more into account. The strategy outlines 12 specific actions, such as “defining innovation policies that support research and development activities”. ACI is a concrete result from these actions and as such, it is in the core of this national strategy.
The Ministry of Social affairs and Health has defined a national strategy for renewing healthcare sector through the means of more effective use of data originating from the healthcare and social services. The strategy called in Finnish as Tieto hyvinvoinnin ja uudistuvien palvelujen tukena: Sote-tieto hyötykäyttöön -strategia outlines the future of Finnish health care linking it to the health services offered within the EU. The strategy emphasizes the role of the information in the renewing services, that serve the healthcare industry and the patients. The ACI contains information essential in the renewed services that are inherently cross-sectoral and defined taking he perspective of the patient into focus. With organizations such as the ACI, it is possible to create services that adhere to this strategy.
The Finnish Nurses Association is a professional organization for registered nurses. Currently it has 50,000 members: nurses, public health nurses, midwives, and paramedics. The association has defined a strategy for electronic services in health care (2015-2020). In the strategy widespread use of information technology and data in everyday operations – and particularly in healthcare decision making is emphasized. As the ACI is the provider of health-related data (and related analysis), it has a central role in the development of tools and technologies that are in accordance with this strategy.
Market and Services
- Health and social work
- TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
- Concept validation and prototyping
- Testing and validation
- Collaborative Researchs
Free-form patient records and clinical language analysis
Lingsoft Ltd. is a full-service language management company. The company offers a wide a range of services and solutions for analysis, processing, production and management of spoken and written language.
A prototyping environment and a testbed for product development in the field of healthcare.
ACI offered Lingsoft a prototyping environment for their product development. The environment consisted of a data analysis engine incorporating over 90 million clinical documents that were used in the development of the software products of the company. In the focus of the development was the software model for the speech recognition software, which is currently tested with ACI and academic partners. The testing involves use of physical premises and hardware (workstations, headsets, etc.), the company’s prototype software web service, and ACI prototype environment in which the developed prototype computational model is run.More details: https://lingsoft.fi/en/asiakkaat/terveydenhuolto/mining-for-gold-patient-records
Finland’s first biobank and clinical informatics
Auria Biobank is Finland’s first biobank. Approximately one million samples are stored in the biobank and used for medical research. The biobank is situated in Turku, in connection with Turku University Hospital and the University of Turku. Auria Biobank was established by the University of Turku and the hospital districts of Southwest Finland, Satakunta and Vaasa. It was established in 2012, and in spring 2014 received its operating licence from Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.
The biobank’s activities are guided by the Finnish Biobank Act, which entered into force in autumn 2013. The Biobank Act secures the rights of the donor and improves researchers’ prerequisites for using the sample collections. In accordance with the Biobank Act, samples and personal data can, with the donor’s consent, be collected and saved in biobanks for future research purposes.
To use sample collections with the donor’s consent, clinical information services are needed. Auria Biobank utilizes heavily both the PaaS stack and in-house data analysis platform offered by ACI. The commercial customers are encouraged to approach either Auria Biobank or ACI, since their requests will be automatically handled by the best expert, working either at the biobank or informatics department.
Microcellular lung cancer patients and Real World Evidence (RWE)
Medaffcon Ltd. offers Real World Evidence (RWE), Stakeholder Perception Mapping, Medical Affairs, Market Access and Healthcare Consulting services for the needs of the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare.
Real World Evidence (RWE) data and a secure testbed for statistical analyses in the field of healthcare.
Due to comprehensive healthcare, digital data, individual social security number and progressive Biobank Act, Finland is currently the only country in the world, where systematic Real World Evidence (RWE) research is possible. Medaffcon purchased from ACI both PaaS services with curated data sets and research services (RaaS), such as finding clinical features and health care resource utilization of microcellular lung cancer patients, to be used in their product development, that focuses on dynamic research use of data. The questions are typically small ad hoc queries, but they led to recurring cooperation with ACI.
Real World Evidence (RWE) and secure statistical analyses
MedEngine Ltd. is a CRO that provides medical affairs and marketing services with emphasis on quality standards of the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and health-tech industries.
Real World Evidence (RWE) data and a secure testbed for statistical analyses in the field of healthcare.
The availability of real-world data on treatment and drug use is primordial for real-world evidence-based analyses. The collaboration between ACI and MedEngine in the field of computational prototyping started in 2016, and at the time of this writing, ACI has prepared 31 curated data sets for MedEngine data analysts into the hospital’s data analysis platform (DAP) – a dedicated testbed where all the statistical analyses are securely performed inside the hospital firewall. Data analysis has been mostly self-service for the client, but ACI has also provided platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and data extraction expert services.
(part of) Public organization (part of RTO, or university)
Number of employees
- National basic research funding
- National specific innovation funding
Number of customers annually
Type of customers
- SMEs (<250 employees)
- MidCaps (between €2-10 billion turnover)
- Large companies, multi-nationals
- Start-up companies
- Research organisations
University of Turku
Åbo Akademi University
Turku University of Applied Sciences
Turku Science Park Ltd.
Novia University of Applied Sciences
Health Campus Turku
Networked, cluster organization
- Artificial Intelligence and cognitive systems
- Data mining, big data, database management
- Simulation and modelling