Research to improve information systems is a foundational component of the CCTS Informatics initiative. Through informatics research, our team develops novel tools and techniques to translate data to discovery, enhance patient care, and improve the health of our communities. Among the several projects underway:

Infobuttons for i2b2

This project, a collaboration between CCTS CoDirector Dr. James J. Cimino and CCTS TL1 fellow Mr. Timothy Kennell, links patient-specific data to context-specific information, connecting investigators to relevant online knowledge sources and thereby enhancing the utility and value of i2b2 in clinical research.

UAB Foundational Ontology (UFO)

Seeking to unify terminologies across multiple data sources, this project draws on previous work by Dr. Cimino and colleagues at Columbia University related to the Medical and Research Entities Dictionary (MED). The UFO will harmonize both standard and local terminologies to weave together multiple source data into the EHR and i2b2. 

PRO Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Integration

Capturing patient reported outcomes (PRO) is an essential component of quality measurement and improvement as well as patient engagement in care and research. The PROMIS survey system uses computer adaptive testing to capture precise measurements with a minimum number of questions, often shortening conventional PRO surveys by 10-fold or more. The CCTS is working with teams at Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, Case Western, and University of Utah to develop, implement, and evaluate a seamless integration of the PROMIS toolset into the Cerner electronic health record using the SMART-on-FHIR specifications. 

Natural Language Processing (NLP) Tools

Collaborating with the Laboratory of Computer and Information Sciences at the Hub and Health Systems staff, CCTS Informatics is developing NLP tools to process the millions of clinical text notes that comprise a significant part of historical health records, making the wealth of data within available for research and clinical operations. 

Other Projects of National Impact

  • Determining the causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
  • Metagenomic analysis of microbe persistence in fecal transplantation for C. difficile infection
  • Determining the association of genomic structural variation with autoimmune disease
  • Association of genotypic variation with pathogenic phenotypes in microbial infection
  • The microbiome and autoimmune disease
  • The harmonized Patient Registry