An Inside Look At What Is Coming At The 2019 OHDSI U.S. Symposium

Using real-world evidence to meaningfully impact the healthcare community will be the prevailing theme Sept. 15-17 during the 5th annual OHDSI U.S. Symposium. Collaborators from around the world will discuss both the direction of the OHDSI community, as well as some of its most important research achievements of the past year, in the highlight event on the OHDSI calendar.

The symposium takes place at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, and for the first time, it will include a Women in Real-World Analytics Leadership Forum, hosted Sunday night by the Women of OHDSI. This free event, which is open to all symposium attendees (you can RSVP here), will feature four prominent leaders in the real-world analytics community (Noémie Elhadad, Violanda Grigorescu, Janet Woodcock, and Joanne Waldstreicher), each of whom will share thoughts on their own journey, where they see this emerging discipline headed, and how OHDSI collaborators can improve healthcare in the future.

OHDSI tutorials will be held both Sunday and Tuesday (9 am – 5 pm), while the official symposium takes place Monday. George Hripcsak and Harlan Krumholz will provide the opening address “This is our community,” which will kick off a full day of community sharing, networking and focusing on the possibilities within the OHDSI network.

The theme of the 9 am plenary session is “A journey toward real-world evidence for regulatory decision making” and will feature a trio of timely talks. Both Clair Blacketer and Andrew Williams will open this segment with a discussion on building confidence in real-world data. At a time when observational data isn’t easily trusted, the pair will share about how OHDSI builds a framework of tools to allow confidence in its research.

The breadth of analytics tools available to the OHDSI community continues to grow and evolve, and that demands the highest-level of documentation to keep community members able to use them. Martijn Schuemie and David Madigan will discuss their work in leading the development of The Book of OHDSI, which explains both the best practices of the OHDSI community, as well as how to run a real-world evidence study from beginning to end.

Both Hripcsak and Patrick Ryan will conclude the opening session with a discussion on proving reliable real-world evidence, and how using LEGEND (Large-Scale Evidence Generation and Evaluation across a Network of Databases) seeks to replicate the efficiency of randomized controlled trials by applying advanced analytics across a network of disparate databases for a wide array of exposures and outcomes.

A stakeholder panel, moderated by Krumholz, will begin at 11 am, and will feature leaders from the FDA, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the academic community (Yale) to share their perspectives on where OHDSI has come, where it should go, and how it could get there.

The collaborator showcase remains an annual highlight of the OHDSI Symposium, and the upcoming one takes place between 11:30 am and 3 pm. The first session of poster presentations and software demonstrations will take place from 11:30 – 1 pm, with a lunch served in the foyer at 12:30 pm.

Seven collaborator lightning talks will take place in the grand ballroom between 1-2 pm, and the final session of the collaborator showcase will go from 2-3 pm.

There will be a trio of powerful highlights of OHDSI evidence in action in the late afternoon, starting at 3 pm when Peter Rijnbeek and Dani Prieto-Alhambra share the findings from their EHDEN/Oxford Study-A-Thon on exploring knee arthroplasty. Ismail Gôgenur and Gregory Klebanov will discuss the work led by the Center for Surgical Sciences on personalizing surgery for colorectal cancer, and representatives of the Women of OHDSI (Maura Beaton, Kristin Kostka, Jenna Reps and Anna Ostropolets) will share their findings on predicting breast cancer to improve screening.

This session, along with the preceding collaborator showcase, should provide ample inspiration for the possibilities when OHDSI collaborators work together using the community’s own state-of-the-art analytics tools and best practices.

Both Ryan and Christian Reich will conclude the day with a talk entitled “Growing up on a journey,” and as past symposium attendees will attest, the closing sends collaborators off with an extra dose of inspiration to put into their efforts towards improving healthcare. Best Contribution and Titan Award winners will also be announced at this time, marking the second year that OHDSI highlights the most exemplary work done within the community.

There will be a networking reception between 5:30-7:30 pm, and the final four tutorials of the event (Patient-Level Prediction, Population-Level Estimation, Data Quality and Extraction, Transformation and Load Process) will take place between 9 am-5 pm on Tuesday.

For those who can’t make it, follow @OHDSI on Twitter for highlights from the weekend, as well as recaps and scientific highlights from the event afterwards on