Clinicum: A new project to create common support structures for clinical research within KI and the Stockholm Region
On May 1 2021, work began with project Clinicum, a part of KI's comprehensive information management program. The project is a collaboration between KI and the Stockholm Region's various actors in health and medical care. The goal is to create an organized support for researchers who need access to clinical data and/or various types of support within data management and methodology.
Clinicum is a project within the program Information Management at KI, which is part of KI's university-wide operational plan of Strategy 2030.
Enabling collaboration within the region
The goal with the project is to create structures that can support researchers who need access to clinical data, or need support with data management and methodological considerations along their research projects. During the winter, representatives of KI, all emergency hospitals in the region and SLSO have been involved in formulating the purpose and goals for Clinicum. In February, the steering group for Information Management at KI decided to finance the larger part of the project’s first year, and that the project should start on 1 May 2021.
The goals that the project shall achieve are the following:
- Detail and decide upon both the mission of the organization Clinicum and the practicalities regarding the creation of the organization. Clinicum will include a central function, acting as a portal or hub for clinical research, and the region's various actors in health care will be represented as Clinicum “nodes”. The goal is to create a clear structure where researchers can easily find the information they need in the form of study designs, biostatistics, bioinformatics and data management.
- Develop collaboration structures within Clinicum together with the nodes. An important part of developing collaboration is to identify and make an inventory of the needs of the clinical researchers. Furthermore, to create forums for networks and education for both the individual researcher and larger research groups.
- Develop structures for access to statistics, bioinformatics, and other methodological expertise. Initially, make a mapping of existing resources, as well as an inventory of clinical researchers' need for additional methodological support. The aim is to propose and evaluate long-term research support models that cover both epidemiological research and translational and precision medical research projects.
- Develop common processes for access to health data from the region, and find effective working methods together with the region and the nodes to improve processes and create accessibility for researchers.
- Transfer the Clinicum project into a consisting organization with long-term financing and well-functioning management. For the time being, Clinicum sorts under Information Management at KI, but has its own steering group with Vice President of KI, Anders Gustafsson, as chairman and with representatives from the region's various major players in healthcare.
The project group
The project group is led by Erik Melén, who is a professor of pediatrics at KI SÖS and a clinically active pediatric allergist at Sachsska Children's Hospital, together with Karin Ekström Smedby, senior lecturer and associate professor at KEP, MedS, and specialist at the Department of Hematology at Karolinska University Hospital Solna.
- It feels fantastic and stimulating to be able to launch this important project. Clinical research is one of the cornerstones of KI's operations and there is an enormous potential here to continue to develop this into a common platform for clinical research, which is something we lack today, says Erik Melén.
The project group also includes three part-time coordinators: Adina Feldman, coordinator at the Research Support Office and affiliated researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Marie Evans, researcher at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology and chief physician at the Medical Unit of Kidney Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, and Sandra Eloranta, Research Coordinator, KEP. Louise Betton from KI SÖS is part of the group as administrative support for the project.
- I hope that this broad project will constitute a great asset and support for clinical researchers in the region and at KI, and at the same time lead to us utilizing existing resources in a more efficient way, says Karin Ekström Smedby.