Artificial Intelligence to accelerate research in Spanish hospitals

IOMED promotes the federated Clinical Research network to promote collaboration between different centers that can access millions of data

March 24, 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) leads the digital transformation of health. The fact of being able to convert the unstructured data (in free text format) of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) of patients into structured databases with standard and international formats in order to speed up research has made it possible to establish a clinical research network that makes it possible to work with millions of data as well as to promote collaboration between clinical research centers.

The health sector has lagged behind others in harnessing data to improve health care and services. Legal and technical reasons have prevented a correct exploitation of predictive medicine despite having millions of digitized patient data. However, the COVID19 pandemic has forced a change of scenery to overcome the obstacles imposed by SARS-CoV2.

One of the solutions, although it already existed before, has been federated clinical research, which offers the possibility of collecting unstructured data through Artificial Intelligence technologies such as natural language processing, to connect the hospital with its data. Another of its advantages is the possibility of sharing search queries between different research centers without having to share the data, which remains safely guarded in the hospital at all times. All this allows the research center and the hospitals that are part of the federated clinical research network to become institutions with more incentives to attract clinical research studies.

The European Union is also aware of the need to carry out more and faster studies through federated clinical research. For this reason, it has launched EHDEN1, which seeks to create a federated network of medical data at a European level to accelerate clinical research. The project, in which IOMED Medical Solutions participates, promotes public-private collaboration so that European hospitals are part of this federated data network.


A report2 on the federated data network created by EHDEN concludes that data standardization has enabled methodological advances, enhanced global collaboration and the generation of real-world evidence to improve patient treatments. Federated clinical research establishes a standardized format, common to all centers, for the storage of all clinical data that hospitals have.

The goal of federated clinical research is to connect researchers and clinicians with their hospital data, speed up research processes, and enable any medical professional to conduct studies. We can see an example of this in Spain, where it has been possible to collect the medical information of 51,292 patients with visits to Dermatology in the last six years in six Spanish hospitals. This is the Dermaclear study, which has analyzed patients with chronic immune-mediated diseases such as psoriasis, chronic urticaria, hidradenitis suppurativa and/or atopic dermatitis, to better understand the unmet needs of patients and their impact on the health system .


Democratization of research

It is estimated that in these studies between 70% and 80% of the data is obtained thanks to the use of Artificial Intelligence. These tools allow tripling the amount of data available for a clinical research project. The system allows reading all the information of an entire hospital in a few hours. The data collection process using Artificial Intelligence lasts a tenth of the traditional method.

Research is a growing need in the face of health challenges, such as healthcare pressure, chronicity and the aging of the population. European society is aging, which implies a greater economic burden in health. It is estimated that a patient consumes 80% of their total health expenditure in their last three years of life.

At the same time, the investment in health of the Autonomous Communities was cut by 11.2% in the first years of the last decade. Although the latest data presented by the Ministry of Health puts spending on public health at 6.6% of GDP, we are far from the figures for other European countries such as Germany (9.9%), France (9.3%) or Sweden (9.2%).

This has led to a vicious circle: there is no research because there are no resources, but without research, health care is not improved. According to data from the Spanish Registry of Clinical Studies3 (SRcs), most clinical trials are concentrated in just four autonomous communities: Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia and the Valencian Community.

In Spain there are already 16 hospitals that have it thanks to the technology developed by IOMED, ​​and it is expected that more will continue to be added in the coming months. In the coming months we will see a multiplication and acceleration of findings in the diagnosis and treatment of different pathologies.

[1] EHDEN; (2022). European Health Data and Evidence Network. Available at:

[2] Zenodo; (March 26, 2021). Increasing Trust in Real-World Evidence Through Evaluation of Observational Data Quality. Available at:

[3] SRcs; (2022). Spanish Registry of Clinical Studies. Available at: