Research Enabling Technology Infrastructure Application

By Rupinder Mann, Femida Gwadry-Sridhar, Selam Mequanint and Claudio Martin.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research rich environments rely on experts who engage in different disciplines such as health care management, information technology, basic and clinical sciences to collaborate. These investigators have access to diverse scientific resources and tools, but do not deploy them in a way that enables synergy. Often researchers limit themselves to desktop applications, which in such a progressive domain is simply incongruous with collaborative research. These factors precipitated the establishment of a knowledge translation health informatics lab, I-THINK Research. Its aim was to utilize existing strategies and tools and introduce new tools for end-users, while educating end-users about how to deploy the tools. The aim was to create an environment and infrastructure where collaborative research would result in optimal resource utilization and improved patient outcomes. As a proof of concept I-THINK Research undertook to metamorphose a Critical Care Research Network Minimum Data Set (CCR-Net MDS), a data entry desktop application to a web-based application to meet emerging needs and demands of the end-users. The MDS profiles patient care activity in critical care units by collecting data on each admission. Reports generated enable participating hospitals to characterize their activity, perform inter-hospital comparisons, measure progress, and generate research hypotheses. CCR-Net MDS data entry desktop software was user-friendly but contained strict validity rules that deterred exceptional data from being entered and lacked in immediate feedback to sites. The new CCR-Net MDS web-based application not only overcame these issues but also provided enhanced functionality by utilizing current data that could be accessed dynamically for administrative benchmarking, and supporting knowledge translation activities. Embedded within the application are user friendly analysis tools to support prediction models. This platform is scalable and provides the ability to expand the applications to multiple medical conditions.
This paper illustrates how a common platform for research enabling technology infrastructure was utilized to augment software, in this case, CCR-Net MDS.

Keywords: Critical Care, Intensive Care, Bio-medical Informatics, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Software Engineering, Decision Making, Evidence-Based, Knowledge Translation

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.185-206. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.550MB).

Rupinder Mann

Project Manager, Health Informatics, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, ON, Canada

Rupinder Mann, B.Sc., B.E.Sc; is a Project Manager for Health Informatics at the Lawson Health Research Institute. Her experience in software engineering for over seven years enables her to apply knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project tasks to meet the project requirements. She works closely with the development and Information Management team in order to facilitate, monitor and prioritize the process. She supports in administration of the Lawson’s email accounts, web sites and user access. She assists researchers with migrating and hosting the clinical research databases on to Lawson’s secure IT platform, behind hospital firewall to ensure patient confidentiality in conjunction with Provincial Privacy Regulations. She also helps researchers with gathering and recognizing their project requirements, design the architecture, define data collection forms, help setup database, ensure regular backups, assist with quality assurance, documentation, and in following a complete project management methodology and software development life cycle.

Dr. Femida Gwadry-Sridhar

Director, Health Informatics, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, ON, Canada

Dr. Femida Gwadry-Sridhar is a pharmacist, epidemiologist and methodologist with over 15 years of experience in clinical trials and disease registries. In 2006, Gwadry-Sridhar was awarded a five-year CIHR New Investigator Award in Knowledge Translation (2006-2011). She holds a number of peer-reviewed grants from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (Canada) and from CIHR to evaluate knowledge translation. Through the CIHR funded trial, Gwadry-Sridhar and her colleagues at Western, intensivists in the Critical Care Research Network (CCR-Net), and cardiologists in London and McMaster are using novel business methodologies to determine what systems and process differences exist within institutions that lead to disparities in outcomes in patients with acute myocardial infarcts across ICUs in Ontario. As Chair of the “Determinants of Compliance” working group at the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), she is leading new methodologic inquiry into the areas of pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes research. She is also a core member of the Analyses Standards Group on compliance research at ISPOR. This group has developed methodologies to conduct and analyze retrospective and prospective compliance research. She is an Executive Member of the Canadian Pharmacy Practice Research Group. She is Director of Health Informatics at the Lawson Health Research Institute. She is considered an expert in the area of measurement and methodology of medication compliance. Her research is in the area of medication compliance, development of conceptual frameworks for understanding causal inferences in disease outcomes and processes to understand knowledge translation.

Selam Mequanint

Research Coordinator, Center for Studies in Family Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada

Selam Mequanint,B.Sc. Statistics, M.Sc. Management Information Systems; is an expert in managing large patient databases in the health and academic sectors. Her work experiences include but not limited to coordinating several health research projects, statistical analysis and reporting, designing registry databases, maintaining data quality, designing research projects and, performance and quality measures. For the past three years, she worked in coordinating, managing, conducting statistical analysis and reporting on the Minimum Data Set (MDS) that contains more than 250,000 patients’ information who were admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) within the last 12 years at several ICUs across Canada. She worked very closely with software developers and IT consultants to convert the MDS desktop software application which was used for the past decade into the web-based interface. Currently, Mrs Mequanint works with the diabetes research group in designing, developing and managing the web-based diabetes database that would greatly benefit diabetes patients and health care providers in the region. This would ultimately be integrated with future provincial diabetes registry and laboratory systems databases. She is also involved in the evaluation framework and strategic planning processes of chronic diseases initiatives at the Local Health Integrated Network.

Dr. Claudio Martin

Director, Critical Care Trauma Centre, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON, Canada

Dr. Martin is a physician with the London Health Sciences Centre, Victoria Campus and an Associate Professor of Medicine and Physiology at The University of Western Ontario. His clinical interests include information systems and critical illness severity scoring. He is involved in the development of a critical care medicine resource site on the Internet.


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