New EURECA project aims to build IT solutions for better patient care

23 May 2012

Despite improvements in healthcare IT infrastructures, a gap remains in the ability of these systems to deliver knowledge and insight back to the researchers, clinicians and patients they are intended to support. EURECA, a new European project, aims to close this gap by building software solutions to improve interoperability among existing data systems, such as clinical trials and electronic health record systems.

Oncology has been selected as the focus domain for EURECA because of the incidence of cancers, the complexity of data collected and of the therapy options.

On top of the semantic interoperability environment, the tools developed by EURECA will deliver several benefits for patients, including early identification of patient safety issues and more efficient recruitment of eligible patients to trials. The project will also investigate the use of patient-recorded information (e.g. stored in a Personal Health Record system) to detect potential patient safety issues. The EURECA environment will also enable long term follow up of patients to establish outcomes such as levels of recurrence. Oncology research will benefit greatly from improved interoperability and the ability to reuse the vast amounts of data collected within care.

Led by Philips Electronics, the initiative brings together eighteen partner organisations from Europe and Canada with the technical and clinical expertise to create these unique IT solutions. EURECA is funded by a grant from the European Commission’s FP7-ICT programme.

Efficient collaboration and information sharing are essential prerequisites for improving efficiency, safety and outcomes in medicine. The momentum gained by new initiatives focusing on these aspects indicates that under the right circumstances, the biomedical community is ready and willing to open up.

Both by building the necessary technical solutions and by enabling the creation of the suitable ecosystem, EURECA aims to support the currently often separated worlds of clinical research and clinical care to collaborate and benefit from each other.

The ultimate winners from EURECA will be the patients, the public and the healthcare services.