News

May 2015

EpiConcept has put in place a Voozanoo platform for collecting information from the participants of the Constances cohort (www.constances.fr). This platform allows the cohort management team to create their own questionnaires which respect the strict confidentiality and anonymity of the data collected. For security, the platform does not manage information about the  identification of the collected data but rather, through a web service, relies on a third party trusted service to store data about identity. The platform includes a mass-mailing function which uses a specialised service from Orange.

The first version of the questionnaire campaign manager includes the possibility to define the participant groups based on the questionnaire being sent as well as a reminder system for each questionnaire. Constances is a very large epidemiological study composed of a sample representing 200,000 adults aged 18 to 69 who visit the national insurance’s health examination centers. The data collected will be used to support a variety of studies, for example: visual deficiency; mobile phones and health; or the prevention of the effects of aging.

The research projects are subject to validation from an international scientific council, an institutional piloting committee and the agreement of the national commission for informatiques and civil liberties (CNIL). This project which carries the label “Investment for the future” from the general investment commission is led by UMS 11 of the Inserm UVSQ in partnership with the national health insurance, national retirement insurance and has support from the General Directorate of Health.

 

May 2015

On 17 April, a Research Fellow and Graduate students from the University of Johannesburg completed a week of training in Paris on the ODK (Open Data Kit) mobile data collection system. They were joined by a Senior Research Fellow from the University of Cape Town. The participants used a variety of tools (including EpiConcept’s Wepi application) to create and modify the questionnaires to be used on ODK Collect, a widely used Android application (over 50,000 downloads) for data collection with telephones and tablets.

They also learned how to manage a distant server which the enumerators will be sending their data collection results to. Dr. Johane Dikgang from the department of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg will use the system to carry out surveys for his various projects including the SANCOOP meat project, South African power outages project and the consumer responses to plastic bags in Botswana and South Africa project. Professor Edwin Muchapondwa stated at the close of the training, “I feel empowered!”. Prof. Muchapondwa had previously subcontracted the creation of a mobile data collection system for a previous study at Kruger National Park in 2014. The team now has the ability to put in place and manage their survey projects from A-Z for themselves. A shorter three-day version of this course, open to the general public, will be held at EpiConcept in the beginning of October. See here for more info.

 

Mar 2015

A contract has been signed between EpiConcept and the Tunisian Ministry of Health for EpiConcept to develop and put in place an emerging disease surveillance system in collaboration with Tunisian general practitioners and hospitals.  The work will include epidemiological evaluation, writing the surveillance protocols and IT specifications,  development of an IT application and training on computer tools for surveillance. The work began in March and is to be completed in June.

Mar 2015

The two-week epidemiology training in Veyrier du Lac, France conducted for the ECDC (Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) finished on the 28th of February. The course comprised five facilitators and 30 trainees from 22 EU countries.  Through hands-on activities, EU epidemiologists were trained in the use of IT and statistics tools for surveillance, investigation, research and communication activities.

Mar 2015

The Healthcare Data Insititute is an international think tank concerned with big data in the health arena and was initiated in November of 2014 by Orange Healthcare. The Healthcare Data Institute, a catalyser of ideas for France and beyond, has tasked itself with advancing the reflections on big data, educating the public, improving understanding, and encouraging the creation of concrete projects by promoting cross-fertilization among its members. EpiConcept joined the Healthcare Data Institute as a memeber in December to contribute to this initiative through its expertise in epidemiology and applied public health information systems.

Feb 2015

The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit had created its own information system in 2014 using the publicly available Voozanoo portal and have since contacted EpiConcept to put in place new capabilities. This information system for fighting malaria in Thailand and Myanmar is fed from direct on-line entry and from SMS messages. The system then creates a weekly dashboard view of the collected data for the partners involved (local organisations, financial backers, authorities, etc.). EpiConcept’s involvement began in December of 2014 and is expected to be completed within the first quarter of this year.

Feb 2015

The Inserm’s Unit 1018 team 9 “Lifestyle, genes and health: transgenerational integrated epidemiology" has chosen EpiConcept to put in place its data collection platform for their extensive E4N study. The principal objective of the E4N study (http://e4n.fr) is to better understand the factors of lifestyle, genetic heritage and family (or extra-family) environment in the development of chronic diseases.  Information about the family health history, genetic information and environmental exposures will allow the group to study the risk factors for chronic widespread diseases as well as the role of early exposure to environmental agents on adult health.
This IT project began in February of 2015 and is slated for its first use in the 4th quarter of this year. It will allow the team to manage the questionnaires by themselves using Voozanoo as well as be used to interface with the new wave of wearable “connected” health objects. The E4N project has been selected as an “Investment in the Future” by the national research agency and the general investment commission.

Feb 2015

Based on EpiConcept’s Voozanoo4 framework, this new analysis module uses the open source R program designed for statistical computing and graphics. In keeping with the “lego” method for application development, this module can be used by a Voozanoo created application or called by another third party application as a web service. The first usage of this module has been for the GESIS application (third party) created by AEDES deployed in Chad for the national health information system with the financial support of the European Union . The module has both pre-programmed functions as well as the facility to use the R programming language directly. The active collaboration of individuals from AEDES and the Chad national health system added greatly to the quality of the module allowing it, most certainly, to see wider implementation in the future.

 

Jan 2015

The French Agency for Development has put on-line a synthesis of the seminar “Information and communication technologies : Innovative health solutions in Africa” (in french). Guillaume Jeannerod, EpiConcept’s general director, gave the perspectives of EpiConcept during the round-table session entitled “Distance training for health personnel, epidemiological surveillance and diagnostic assistance : Information and communication technologies as health interfaces. Can we do everything at a distance?”

Jan 2015

Etalab and the French national health insurance agency organized a hackathon day (collaborative computer-based event) on the 26th of January for the exploitation of the DAMIR database. Taking place at the Paillasse in Paris, an “open source” biology laboratory, software developers, data scientists, economists and researchers worked in teams on various “big data” projects using the DAMIR database made available exclusively for this occasion. The DAMIR database contains all the  transactions from several years of health insurance reimbursements (amounting to several hundred gigbytes of data) having, of course, all names or personal information removed. At the close of the day, the re-use of the data was presented by each group showing the new usages, services and associated applications of this data.
A team from EpiConcept compared the DAMIR database and public data from the national breast cancer screening programme to show the interest in crossing these data to calculate the cost of this public health programme. The event allowed the various teams to understand the extent and content of the DAMIR database as well as resolve the difficulties in exploiting it through the aid of the national health insurance team that was present. At the end of the day, the minister of health, Marisol Touraine, came to see the results of the various projects and to encourage this kind of data sharing which will support future technical advances.

Jan 2015

From the 16th to the 28th of February, EpiConcept will be running its “Into Epi” course in Veyrier du Lac, France for the European CDC (Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). The objective of the course is to train, through hands-on activities, European epidemiologists in the use of IT and statistics tools for surveillance, investigation, research and communication activities.

Jan 2015

EpiConcept has been contracted by the Hong Kong department of health for a sixth year of Field Epidemiology training which will be composed of courses and distance supervision of FETP (field epidemiology training program) trainees.

Jan 2015

Begun in January, Orange télécom for the region Centre (south of Paris) started using their own dedicated Evrest Entreprise information system. As a response to the requests from large companies who wanted to use the Evrest system, EpiConcept proposed a private version of Evrest to the occupational doctors of these companies and included functions for organisational divisions. This allows the company to export data and exploit statistiques at a finer level (geographic, hierarchique, and others), while still benefiting from the support of the national Evrest system. Evrest (Evolution and Relations in health at work) is a system for research and health monitoring in the work environment. It is a multi-year observatory commission that uses questionnaires created in collaboration with researchers and occupational doctors. This system will allow the occupational doctors to analyse and monitor different aspects of the work environment and employee health.

Jan 2015

EpiConcept has proposed its services to the WHO (World Health Organization) to support the Ebola epidemic surveillance work in Guinea. Within the framework of the GOARN programme, EpiConcept epidemiologists take two month stints at the WHO headquarters in Conakry, Guinea.  Their mission is to participate in the collect, centralisation and analysis of data coming from the field. Complementary to the surveillance activities, the EpiConcept team participates in the investigation of confirmed cases.

Dec 2014

The NGO Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) have decided to put in place a patient medical records system based on Voozanoo to improve the case management of persons registered in their aid, care and orientation centres, both fixed and mobile, and to harmonise the data collection in France and internationally.  
For the past 30 years, Médecins du Monde (MDM) has intervened in France and abroad in the care for individuals on the fringes of society. In 2000, MDM established an observatory commission for access to care at the French missions (OMF) to measure the concrete results of programmes and to elucidate the real conditions for persons in precarious social situations to receive care. In 2004, the directors of the French missions of MDM created an observatory commission for the international network of care centres (ORI) with the objective of obtaining data on the entire population of individuals welcomed into all countries’ care centres. It is with these two activities that MDM wanted to put in place a patient information system.
Since its origins, EpiConcept has expended much effort in collaborating with NGOs to set up information systems for their operations centres. EpiConcept collaborates with over a hundred NGOs globally and has been working with Médecins du Monde for over ten years.
It is in this context that Médecins du Monde has chosen EpiConcept and Voozanoo to assure the development of the patient medical records systems by integrating the logistics constraints of the mobile teams. A number of pilot sites in France and abroad have been set up in order to validate the software solution before a large-scale deployment.
EpiConcept hosts the storage of the personal data in accordance with its engagements as a certified host for personal health data. MDM will be able to upgrade the composition of the patient file themselves thanks to the way the Voozanoo system works. The first pilot sites are planned to be operational by the end of the second quarter of 2015.

Dec 2014

On the 1st of December, the pilot project led by the eSIS consortium and the Gard-Lozère’s regional cancer screening authority (GLD) went into operation. It is a completely digital mammography information system.  The pilot project consists of five radiology offices (public and private) that will participate with the GLD to use the eSiS system that was jointly developed by EpiConcept and the company CDI to exchange and centralise all mammographies produced by these radiology offices for the first and second x-ray readings.

Dec 2014

A strategic action plan 2010-2014 to improve the health of persons “under judicial watch” was created jointly by the ministries of health and justice. The plan highlighted actions oriented toward health promotion as established by the the UN’s Ottawa charter of 1986. As part of this plan, the DPJJ (directorate for youth judicial protection) seeks to reduce the consumption of psychoactive products by minors under court protection involved or not in trafficking and dealing, through health promotion  tools. The approach is to create an auto-evaluation questionnaire using EpiConcept's Voozanoo platform which can be used by the individual to improve prevention, quitting and case handling. The collected data will also be used to improve general knowledge on the state of health of these minors and to identify their needs and the corresponding actions for the DPJJ.

Dec 2014

The Génépy (multidisciplinary care for persons in the Midi-Pyrenees region with a genetic risk to ovary, colorectal or endometrial cancer) network is part of the French National Institute of Cancer’s plan to ensure personalized follow-up for all persons with a risque of hereditary cancer. Phare (Prédisposition Héréditaire aux cAncers REgion Grand Ouest) is a Voozanoo based web application to manage the registration, care and followup of the individuals in its network. It has been used since 2011 in the greater north-west region of France. Using the Phare application, Génépy will coordinate patient management at a regional level and include all the professionals involved in the patient’s follow-up:
  - the patient is included in the network after consulting with a genetic oncologist
  - the personalised follow-up plans evolve based on current knowledge, age and patient history
  - patient visits are centrally planned
  - the network’s doctors can fill in an examination record directly in Phare and will receive secure emails on the patient's status

Dec 2014

Researcher Gil Bellis (Research unit “Mortality, health, Epidemiology” -UR5) approached EpiConcept to create the data collection tool for the socio-demographic study “Cystic fibrosis, Family and Society”. This study will enrich and complement the French Cystic Fibrosis Registry, MucoRegistre, with a second source of data. Voozanoo was used to create the MucoRegistre and is used by the informations system director of the national institute of demographic studies.
The study will
  - compare the health events found in the MucoRegistre and the stages of life from which they are collected
  - measure the nature and intensity of interactions between cystic fibrosis and the various stages of an individual’s life

In 2011 a first pilot put in place a paper-based questionnaire for three distinct age groups; children, adolescents, adults. Following up on that initial pilot, the definitive questionnaire tool is an online tool for adolescents and adults. This is being proposed to all patients of the CRCMs (cystic fibrosis resource and competency centers) to the targeted age groups and included in the MucoRegister.

Nov 2014

Wepi, the free online questionnaire tool created for health professionals, now includes statistics. The new tab in the interface allows the owner of the questionnaire to see information about the completeness of the questionnaire responses, variable by variable as well as a statistical analysis (mean, median, quartiles, frequencies, etc.) of each variable for the entire population or for each subgroup of records submitted by a given surveyor. 
With over 500 users, Wepi has shown itself to be a very useful online data collection tool with the benefit of requiring just a few minutes to understand how to make and share a questionnaire on-line.