Informatics

Informatics

Informatics


Coordinator: Kimberley Buckner

Informatics is commonly considered the science of processing data for storage and retrieval. In the field of medicine there are many different branches of informatics including public health informatics, bioinformatics, protein informatics and medical informatics and each has information processing at its core. In the infectious diseases informatics program we specialize in database design, data quality, application development, data sharing and publication.

Data Collection Development

Successful research studies are based on consistently collected, reliable data. We can assist investigators with creating appropriate data collection instruments and case report forms (CRFs) for capturing clinical data including, but not limited to, subject demographics, physical examination results, medical history, laboratory results, radiological results, and microbiological results. In addition, we can help the investigator develop a corresponding data dictionary with variable identification to facilitate building the study database and performing statistical analysis.

Database Development

While the primary data collection tool for a study is often a set of paper case report forms, for proper statistical analysis, the data must be converted to an appropriate electronic format that lends itself to searching and sorting the dataset as well as selecting data subsets. Our team has extensive experience building data collection systems using the REDCap electronic data capture system developed by Vanderbilt University and used by over 300 institutions and organizations around the world.  The informatics program hosts a secure web server at the university's enterprise datacenter and has developed over 100 electronic CRFs and surveys for the division and its collaborators.

Application development

When a software tool for a specific purpose is unavailable it is necessary to develop one using a multipurpose programming language. We have experience in creating custom software applications in the R, Python, PHP and Java programming languages.  The division has developed software to support real-time hospital infection control, reference laboratory test management, research data visualization, and database search interfacing. The division networks with the department of Computer Information Systems in the College of Business and the department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science in the Speed School of Engineering to host talented software development interns.

Publication

Abstract Development

The first step in disseminating the results of any research project often includes submission of an abstract for poster presentation at a local, national, or international conference. We have many years of experience developing and submitting abstracts to conferences around the world. We can assist investigators with a systematic approach to developing high quality abstracts and/or posters which can increase the likelihood of acceptance.

Manuscript Preparation

Publishing your study results in high quality peer-reviewed scientific journal is a critical step in clinical and translational research. This mechanism of information dissemination is the most efficient way of communicating research to other investigators. Our group has published extensively in numerous high quality journals such as The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Clinical Infectious Disease, European Respiratory Journal, Public Health Reports, Journal of Emergency Management, American Journal of Orthopedics and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. We have a well-established methodology for writing and preparing manuscripts for publication that includes rigorous internal team reviews and collaborative writing sessions.