UC Medical Center Receives $1.6 Million National Technology Grant
The UC Medical Center will receive more than $1.6 million over the next four years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Library of Medicine (NLM) to build “knowledge management systems” that will revolutionize how researchers, educators, students and practitioners at the UC Medical Center organize and apply information. The Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems (IAIMS) operations grant will transform current database systems from separate repositories of data intended for back office use to an integrated network of services that provides information to many at the UC Medical Center when and where they need it, and in the format of their choice.
“The reason we have been successful on this grant proposal is that we were able to demonstrate to the NIH that we work collaboratively across all four colleges, across institutions, and that we have both the cultural and the technical skills in place to make it happen,” said John Hutton, MD, professor of pediatrics and principal investigator of the grant.
The challenge now is to build “knowledge management systems” that not only give people access to data and information, but also empower them to turn the organized, filtered and relevant information into knowledge. The IAIMS program will fund the accelerated development of three main projects:
Portfolio-Based Credentialing—This project will maintain a complete, multimedia record of students’ and residents’ classroom, laboratory and clinical performance across the curriculum. Faculty and students will be able to complete and review evaluations and track the performance of students over the Internet. The portfolio will provide continuous feedback to both faculty and students. A record of students’ and residents’ clinical performance will also streamline the credentialing process. “The ability to track student performance over multiple years will allow faculty to customize student experiences to maximize their learning opportunities,” said Bill Fant, PharmD, assistant dean for clinical and external affairs, UC College of Pharmacy, and co-investigator for the grant.
Research Administration—Researchers and administrators will share information through the integrated digital environment, which will reduce the time spent processing paper documents. In this digital environment, researchers will also have direct access to information pertinent to their research. “This project will create an integrated suite of smart digital services that will make the entire grant preparation, post grant monitoring, and compliance process paperless,” said Roger Guard, assistant senior vice president for Academic Information Technology & Libraries, UC Medical Center, and co-investigator for the grant.
Bioinformatics—This project will coordinate and give researchers and students access to the information systems and biostatistical services that support genomic research. The bioinformatics project will also create management tools to catalog and organize the massive amounts of information on genomic research and will train students and researchers to use the bioinformatics applications. “Bioinformatics is a new field with little definition,” said Dr. Hutton. “With IAIMS, UC has the opportunity to shape its future on the national level.”
In 1986 and 1988, the UC Medical Center received the first IAIMS modeling and planning grants to integrate the information systems within the UC Medical Center and The University Hospital. These early initiatives helped to catalyze the development of infrastructure that resulted in universal network access at UC.
In their review of the UC grant proposal, the NLM committee noted, “The three projects included in this IAIMS effort exemplify crossing interinstitutional boundaries and address issues that will be applicable, transferable, and scaleable to other academic healthcare centers. The IAIMS progress and success at this institution should cause it to be considered in the top tier of IT focused academic medical centers in America (e.g. Vanderbilt, Brigham and Women’s, LDS [Latter Day Saints]).”