The Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology atOregon Health and Sciences University hosted a talk this month entitled "Advancing Clinical and Translational Research through Biomedical Informatics."
After hearing these speakers, issues of data management and the usability of data management software, arose as a central theme. Each of the research teams represented (three in all), talked about the difficulty of data retrieval.
Robert Schuff of OCTRI discussed issues when tracking potential study subjects. His teams need to sort information on demographics as well as disease and are working on building a system to do just that.
Katrina Goddoard of the NW Biobank has an extensive bank of biological matter from surgeries available to researchers for testing, but locating the samples in the piles of specimens has proven daunting.
Dr. Shannon McWeeney also of OCTRI discussed the importance of translating the results of scientific discoveries into actual changes in patient practice.
Overall, it was apparent that medical research is moving at a rapid pace. Technology can help to track and sort data, but the systems we build to track and sort that data are critical to the analysis, understanding and eventual translation into practice. As researchers and designers, we need to get in at the forefront, initiating excellent data management and user friendly systems so that the research is always accessible.