This strategic program proposes the development and utilization of the informatics base (we termed as translational health informatics base (THIB)) which enables “ the circulation of knowledge” in the medical science and clinical services.
By developing THIB, the fruits of life science research, personal medical information and clinical care data become interoperative. As a result of this, we can expect the following effects: the progress of epidemiological studies, improvement of clinical services in their qualities and efficiency.
It has been discussed that we should perform “Health Research” which enables us to make use of the fruits of latest life science research and to return it to the society as a more advanced treatment method, medicine or medical instrument. To this end, the Health Research Promotion Council was established in Japan under the control of the Cabinet Office in 2008. In the “Health Research Promotion Strategy” proposed by the Council, it is recommended that we establish “the circulation of knowledge” loop in the medical science and clinical services by clarifying the mechanism of life phenomenon and diseases, converting the clarified mechanism into diagnostic and treatment methods, identifying new research subjects through assessing the effectiveness of the methods, and carrying out research on the identified subjects.
Several projects have been promoted for developing information infrastructure to smoothly turn the fruits of the life science research into clinical services. These projects are aiming at creating the basis to fully utilize data base in the life science fields and improve the efficiency and quality of life science research. However, these projects did not have enough coordination with the studies performed in medical institutions and there is much room left to enhance “the circulation of knowledge” loop in the life science research and studies performed in the medical institutions. From this point of view, we propose comprehensive development of those information infrastructures as THIB which allows us to link cutting-edge knowledge in the life science, clinical data, medical data, health examination data, and epidemiological study data. When developing and utilizing THIB, we need to fund not only in informatics studies, but also infrastructure build-up, standardization activity, common tools, and sustainable operation of THIB.
Rather than trying to develop a full-scale THIB system from the very beginning, we should start from a small trial-phase project and gradually expand the institutional community. From a practical standpoint, an emphasis should be placed on the federation of the existing systems throughout the development.