From theory to practice at OHDSI’s 5th symposium

Symposium highlights practical applications of OHDSI

The annual OHDSI symposium is always a nice occasion for members of the community to meet face to face. This year, from 15 to 17 September more than 500 people gathered in Washington D.C. for the fifth edition of the symposium attending keynote lectures, lightning talks, or hands-on tutorials. Notably, some 25 percent of the attendees were newcomers and 70 attendees flew in from Korea.

All sorts of key topics were covered. Newcomers could play and familiarize with different aspects of the OHDSI suite, while for existing users there was plenty of opportunity to deepen their understanding of the possibilities it offers.

Hands-on tutorials, use cases, industry insights, and plenty of networking opportunities were available to the audience thanks to the community members and its sponsors, among which a notable mention goes to the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If you want to know more about the event, you can take a look at the program, check the presentation slides (this year OHDSI went all-digital, so you can find all the materials online!). Here you can find the topics of the educational sessions:


Our Product Specialist, Maxim Moinat, supported the ETL-session hosted by Erica Voss, Clair Blacketer from Janssen and Evanette Burrows from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

“With tutorial sessions like the ETL tutorial we try to give hands-on exposure to what is necessary to know in performing the ETL. Every data owner will have their own unique challenges to deal with but the tutorial gives a working framework for how to think about it”, says Erica Voss.

A great example of knowledge-sharing is the Book of OHDSI. It was officially launched and distributed for free at the event. If you’re interested in obtaining your own copy: it is available on Amazon. Or you can view it online for free here.

As The Hyve’s founder, Kees van Bochove, noted with regards to the Book of OHDSI: “OHDSI is the first community to write a book! All together, some of the brilliant minds behind the suite co-authored the publication. OHDSI is an open science community”. To learn more, please check Chapter 3 of the book, written by our founder. “OHDSI’s mission is to improve health by empowering a community to collaboratively generate the evidence that promotes better health decisions and better care.”

If we have to choose one, among all the brilliant keynotes, Dr. Ismai Gögenur’s talk on Personalized Oncological Surgery is one that comes to mind. As founder and director of the Center for Surgical Science (CSS), Denmark, he stressed the urgency for better, outcome-driven immunotherapy and he showed OHDSI evidence at its best.

(Click on image to go to the slides)

The EHDEN academy portal was officially launched during the consortium! Please note, this is not a public resource yet but soon will be. Stay tuned!

Last, but not least: at the US conference the hashtag #WoO was also introduced during an inspirational session by the women of OHDSI; a panel of talks by female industry/academy leaders that is going to continue with its own calendar of events, strengthening women networks in the OHDSI community and emphasize the role of women in leadership roles!

If you missed this symposium but would like to join us at the next event. Your next opportunity is the EU edition, 27-29 March 2020 in Oxford (UK)! This event will be hosted by prof. Daniel Prieto-Alhambra at the University of Oxford (UK). (More on OHDSI Europe Symposium)

We want to wrap this symposium overview with a remark from OHDSI’s self-declared benevolent leader Patrick Ryan and his invitation to the entire community to bring the tool suite to a version that is compatible with CDM v6:

We are game! Are you?”