Wednesday, February 20, 2013

EMRs to Advance Research

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is starting a project that may lead to important advancements. The researchers very often find that they need more information when they are doing their research so they are creating an electronic data network to help not only researchers and also the growing biotechnology sector in the state of New York.

“The reason for the network is to help researchers when they are testing drugs to be able to define and categorize people, according to their condition, their medications, and their treatments,” reports Anton P. Porsteinsson, M.D., who is leading the study at URMC.

In most clinical studies, investigators sift through reams of patient records by hand. After identifying potential candidates, researchers need to track down additional data to complete each person’s profile.

The process can be lengthy and does not always keep up with a subject’s health or lifestyle changes. This lack of information that is not available to the researchers can expose a participant in the study to unexpected risks and negatively affect the quality of a study.

The university is taking part in a statewide partnership called “Partnership to Advance Clinical electronic Research” (PACeR). The partnership is working to improve the subject selection process by using electronic medical records for research purposes and the information obtained from the EMRs is used to create a robust data network.

PACeR includes pharmaceutical companies, clinical research organizations, patient advocates, technology firms, hospitals, physicians, and patients. In addition, the initiative has built a networking platform for physicians to use to communicate with each other.

By using the PACeR project in the university’s Alzheimer’s study, URMC is becoming one of the first research organizations to demonstrate the PACeR network’s potential value. Project organizers hope the developing network will eventually serve as a model for other states, regions, and the nation to allow for the seamless integration between EMRs and databases”.