The establishment of a long-term clinical outcomes research effort was part of the original mission statement of the UAB 1917 HIV/AIDS Clinic when it was founded in 1988.

In 1992, the UAB Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) provided funds to establish a clinical database system that was linked to a specimen repository for the purposes of conducting outcomes and translational research.

Initially, the UAB 1917 Clinic Cohort functioned as an interval cohort using standardized patient visit forms that were later entered into a computerized database. In 1999, the database was expanded to include collection of health services utilization data, thereby allowing cost/expenditure analyses.

In August 2004, the UAB 1917 Clinic deployed a client-server based point-of-care electronic medical record system (1917 EMR) developed within the clinic to its own specifications. This marked a transition from an interval to a clinical cohort study.

The UAB 1917 Clinic Cohort now captures data at the point-of-care with a system of 100% quality control. The real-time collection of vast medication, laboratory, clinical, behavioral, and health care utilization data through the 1917 EMR has dramatically increased research capacity, productivity, and timeliness.