The 2nd & 3rd of November 2022 marked the face-to-face kick-off meeting of the eCREAM project in Bologna, Italy. eCREAM, enabling Clinical Research in Emergency and Acute care Medicine through automated data extraction, is a 5 year Horizon Europe project led by the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research.
Currently, the vast number of patients visiting Emergency Departments and the staff shortages that often afflict these departments make ad-hoc data collection for research purposes unattainable. The only way to fill the gap between the need for clinical research and the availability of robust data is to directly extract such data from the Electronic Health Records (EHRs), avoiding dedicated data collection. Nonetheless, obtaining consistent data from EHRs is a complex task. While a small part of the data registered in EHRs is structured (such as lab test results and vital parameters), most of the useful information on patients' conditions is variably contained in free text (e.g. presence of signs and symptoms, suspected and confirmed diagnosis, anamnesis, etc.).
To tackle this challenge eCREAM aims to: 1) develop new technical solutions to extract reliable clinical information from structured and unstructured data contained in different electronic patient files; 2) FAIRify (i.e. making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) the established databases for clinicians, researchers, health policymakers and citizens while respecting the European and national legislations; 3) pilot the exploitation of the established databases in two relevant use cases: i) assessment of Emergency Department propensity to hospitalise a patient, and ii) development of a dashboard to be used by citizens and policymakers to improve the quality of care in Emergency Departments.
ECRIN will contribute to the eCREAM project with its data management expertise and ELSI knowledge to help develop a FAIRification strategy while taking into consideration the sensitivity of the data.