Bradley Malin Appointed to European Medical Privacy Advisory Group

September 15, 2017

(From Vanderbilt University Medical Center Reporter)

Malin Appointed to European Medical Privacy Advisory Group

by Paul Govern 

Vanderbilt’s Bradley Malin, Ph.D., has been appointed to the Technical Anonymization Group, recently established by the European Medicines Agency to advise it regarding best practices for the anonymization of patient information used in research.  The European Medicines Agency is a European Union agency for the evaluation of drugs and other medical products.

To support patient privacy and dissemination of research data, the agency has adopted policies for the publication of clinical data gathered in medical products research.

Malin is professor of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science and associate professor of Biostatistics, vice chair for research in the department of Biomedical Informatics, and founder and director of the Health Information Privacy Laboratory.

He co-directs the Health Data Science Center, the Center for Genetic Privacy and Identity in Community Settings, and the Big Biomedical Data Science Ph.D. program.

Joshua Denny Named to List of Top Experts in Health Information Technology

September 15, 2017

(From the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Reporter)


Denny named to list of top experts in health information technology

by Paul Govern 

Joshua Denny, M.D., M.S., professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine at Vanderbilt, has been named to an annual list of the 50 leading experts in health care information technology by Health Data Management, a trade news publication.

A profile in the publication notes that Denny has been named director of the Data and Research Support Center of the National Institutes of Health Precision Medicine Initiative, and states that “The job of acquiring, organizing and securing what will be one of the world’s largest and most diverse data sets for precision medicine research falls squarely on the shoulders of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and Denny will be leading that effort.”

Newsweek Article on Colin Walsh's Research in Predicting Suicide Risk

February 28, 2017

From Newsweek:


Machine-Learning Algorithms Can Predict Suicide Risk More Readily than Clinicians

by Matthew Hutson

Each year in the United States, more than 40,000 people die by suicide, and from 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate increased 24 percent. You might think that after generations of theories and data, we would be close to understanding how to prevent self-harm, or at least predict it. But a new study concludes that the science of suicide prediction is dismal, and the established warning signs about as accurate as tea leaves.

There is, however, some hope. New research shows that machine-learning algorithms can dramatically improve our predictive abilities on suicides. In a new survey in the February issue of Psychological Bulletin, researchers looked at 365 studies from the past 50 years that included 3,428 different measurements of risk factors, such as genes, mental illness and abuse.


Colin Walsh, an internist and data scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, along with FSU’s Franklin and Ribeiro, looked at millions of anonymized health records and compared 3,250 clear cases of nonfatal suicide attempts with a random group of patients. To make their prediction method widely scalable, they restricted themselves to factors that would be documented in routine clinical encounters, such as demographics, medications, prior diagnoses and body mass index. Then they let a computer churn through the data and find patterns that would predict suicide attempts within various time frames, from a week to two years.

The accuracy score for each algorithm could range from 0.5 to 1, with 0.5 being no better than chance and 1 being perfect prediction. For comparison, the single factors from the meta-analysis achieved scores of about 0.58, little better than flipping a coin. The computer, however, achieved scores ranging from 0.86, when predicting whether someone would attempt suicide within two years, to 0.92, when looking ahead one week.


(Read the complete article here)

Kevin Johnson on Making Precision Medicine Patient Friendly

December 21, 2016

(From MedCity News)


How to Make Precision Medicine More Patient-Friendly

by Neil Versel


Dr. Kevin Johnson, chief informatics officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has a theory about how to explain precision medicine to laypeople.

“Homeless patients should not get medications that require refrigeration. That is precision medicine,” he said during the opening session of the Connected Health Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Another panelist, Gregg Simon, executive director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, agreed with that philosophy. “We need to avoid being grandiose when we talk about precision medicine,” he said.

(Read the full story at MedCity News)

Jeremy Warner on Precision Cancer Medicine Apps

December 5, 2016

(from GenomeWeb)

Vanderbilt's Precision Cancer Medicine App Brings Genomic Data to Point of Care

by Uduak Grace Thomas

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Enabling precision medicine at the point of care requires ready access to genomic information within the clinical workflow as well as tools to help clinicians make sense of the information presented to them.

As Electronic Health Records' vendors work to develop functionality that will enable the use of genomic data at the point of care, researchers from Vanderbilt University and elsewhere have developed a prototype of a clinico-genomic mobile application that provides some features that clinicians might use in interactions with patients. It also "demonstrates how to achieve end-to-end integration with a data warehouse operating in near-real time with the accompanying EHR system," the researchers wrote in a paper
published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association that describes the app.


Jeremy Warner, an assistant professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and one of the PCM app's developers, discussed the tool during a presentation at the HL7 Genomics Policy Conference held last month in Washington DC. 


Read the complete story at GenomeWeb.