IT Infrastructure Needed for Precision Medicine in Norway

Gard Thomassen, Assistant Director at the University Center for Information Technology (USIT) at the University of Oslo (UiO), with Silvija Seres, COO at LørnTech.

Why is there a great difference between clinic and research in that of getting access to health data, and moreover, why do doctors have limited access to such data compared to researchers? Further, should Norway seize its opportunity to utilize health data from the public health system in order to compose the world's best Big Data? In this episode, Gard and Silvija discuss the need to set a goal and that it should be reached by the means of trial and error.

Follow this link to listen to the podcast!

Learnings from the episode

  • Infrastructure
  • Infection-app from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH)
  • Patient data
  • Privacy
  • COVID-19
  • Digital twins

This article is from an episode of #Lørn, made in collaboration with LørnTech

Quick Q and A with Gard

Who are you and how did you get into innovation / research?

I am responsible for delivering advanced IT-support to ongoing research projects at UiO / USIT. When I first started it was as a project manager building an IT-system, making TSD-services for sensitive data, which were intented to handle data for researchers.

What is the most important thing you do at work?

Ensure that researchers at the university, amongst many others, get to do the research projects that they have planned and maybe a bit more. A current example of such manifestation was our ability to create in under 24 hours from when researchers gave us the go-ahead signal.  

What is your focus within technology / innovation?

The space of opportunities that technology / innovation offer. In my line of work we have to stay up to date on the space of opportunities, identify possibilites across this space and take advantage of a broad range of solutions. We also need to maintain our technological competence. 

" ... we have to stay up to date on the space of opportunities, identify possibilites across this space and take advantage of a broad range of solutions. "

Why do you find this exciting?

Precisely due to the way in which we can make things a reality. The things that we are able to do today may have been impossible to do in the past due to issues like money, security, privacy or volume.

Which controversies are the most interesting?

  • Distance between examining a problem and solving it
  • Lack of will power and ability to see through work on focus areas
  • Projects that incur extreme costs with no explanation as to why

Your own, relevant projects over the last year?

  • Digital dynamic consent
  • New storage in TSD
  • New calculation cluster in TSD
  • Utilization of REST API (Representational state transfer) (Application Programming Interface) and loose coupling to close in on being an IT-platform, as well as to give more self-service to users

Examples of similar projects internationally / nationally?

Computerome in Denmark.

What knowledge do you think is relevant for the future?

IT and privacy. However, the most important is knowing both that we have to- and should hold a job. I believe there will be a class division amongst workers: between individuals who are able to work, i.e. those who can abstain from social media during work hours, and others who do not have this ability.

What do we do uniquely well in Norway related to all of this? 

Especially on the research side of things. Here, Norway is one of the actors that have come the farthest in the world. The clinical side has a long road ahead.  

Favorite qoute and take-away message

« Everybody’s got a plan, until they get punched in the mouth » – Mike Tyson.

" One should set a goal and reach it by the means of trial and error. "

Food for Thought

How can sharing of health data be of aid during pandemics such as COVID-19? 

Gard Thomassen



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Portrait of Gard

Relevant Projects

Infrastructure platform for South-East Regional Hospital Trusts

Infrastructure platform for South-East Regional Hospital Trusts

In this particular project, we are aiming to build a pre-clinial in silico lab to support research and innovation projects within precision medicine. It will serve as a test bed for development of prototype research and development

Digital Dynamic Consent

Digital Dynamic Consent

Today's modern and dynamic citizen, within the normal age range of 18-70, would see a paper-based consent as old-fashioned. At the same time these persons would by all chance at any time carry their smartphone, a device that today is