Participatory Medical Information Management in Heidelberg – New Course

Participatory Medical Information Management in Heidelberg – New Course

The HiGHmed consortium – made up of renowned German medical institutes – empowers aspiring leaders of the healthcare field of tomorrow, by promoting digital literacy and supporting digital integration across all fields of allied health. To achieve this, HiGHmed is developing HiGHmeducation – an innovative training framework for teaching health informatics and data science skills to students, physicians, nurses and other staff from all fields of allied health. Multiple newly established online courses are already underway, right across our various academic partner sites. These online courses can be taken individually, and we will soon offer an integrated vocational training program, which will allow participants to earn HiGHmed professional certificates in Medical Informatics.

As one of HiGHmed’s three founding partners, the Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics in Heidelberg has developed an innovative e-learning module for the joint teaching and training programme HiGHmeducation. The module, entitled “Participatory Medical Information Management”, addresses the creation, transfer and usage of patient generated data in modern medicine. The course covers aspects of patient participation by using practical work with the learners.

The use of activity trackers, smart watches and personal health devices is omnipresent and growing within the wider community. However, only very few medical service providers deal with this kind of data, despite its great potential. Exploitation of patient-generated data promises to add value for individual care as well as for research. We want to make learners ready for this data, by working with real-world projects from the Heidelberg University Hospital, accompanied with the necessary theoretical knowledge.

The teaching module utilises the research-based approach of learning. The participants work in teams to progress through all steps of the research cycle on their own project. They begin with an analysis of the current situation for modern participative technologies, such as patient portals. They then generate research questions and select scientific methods to answer them. They create a research design and carry out their research. Finally, the learners present their results orally and their work is critically reflected upon.

We completed the second iteration of the module with 26 Medical Informatics students of Heidelberg University in the winter term 19/20. It was a blended learning course, which enabled learners to work on the project when it was comfortable for them and also gave them a chance to discuss problems in virtual meeting sessions with the other learners and the teacher.

Specifically, we worked with inertial measurement units (IMUs) to assess the physical activity of spinal cord injured patients. This includes signal processing to generate interpretable units for patients, physicians and researchers. The data was then automatically transferred to application components, which represent parts of the university hospital. Therefore, we use modern standards like HL7 FHIR. For the receiving application components, we discuss presentation concepts, which can be adjusted for patients, physicians and other stakeholders in healthcare.

We are currently optimising the module and the next course iteration begins in the end of September, 2020. It will be open for interested students, employees, executive staff and other potential learners within the HiGHmed consortium. If you are interested in participation, please contact us via e-mail: