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Grant Application Toolkit: Biomedical Informatics Support





Biomedical Informatics Support

CCTS Research Informatics Services provides basic, clinical and translational investigators with tools for research collaboration, prospective data collection and storage, and retrospective data inquiries.

Clinical Data Access

Research Informatics Services facilitates access to data housed in the OSU Wexner Medical Center's Electronic Health Record (IHIS) and Information Warehouse (IW), including clinical encounters, demographics, finance, procedures, medications, laboratory results, clinical reports, order entry, and radiology images. Researchers can use the IW honest broker protocol to access de-identified clinical data for non-FDA research without having to invest the significant time and effort necessary to craft a formalized protocol for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Researchers with IRB approval can utilize identified data from the IW in their research.

Researcher access to the IW:

  • Allows for the conduct of feasibility analyses and/or preliminary investigations
  • Allows for the conduct of retrospective data analysis studies
  • Alleviates the need for conducting manual chart reviews
  • Enables the capture and transfer of clinical data in real time to a research database
  • Provides the ability to perform multi-dimensional analysis and data mining, text mining, natural language processing (NLP) and image analysis

Researcher access to IHIS:

  • Document research-specific information in the patient medical record for ambulatory and inpatient encounters
  • Enter and document research-specific orders and medications
  • Complete research and patient account hospital charge review
  • Create Clinical Trial Alerts for patient recruitment
  • Create embedded websites for research related tasks
  • Enhance physician notes by tying lists to background databases
  • Create actionable reports to manage subject populations and identify potential subjects

Learn about RIS services

Cohort Discovery & Feasibility Analysis

The Ohio State University Research Data Repository (RDR) provides OSU researchers the ability to perform self-service cohort discovery for research purposes in order to support hypothesis generation, feasibility analysis, and study population enrollment reports. The RDR is an IRB-approved database populated with a coded-limited dataset sourced from OSU Wexner Medical Center Electronic Health Record via the Information Warehouse. Application level access to the RDR is implemented via the Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) software product developed at the Partners Healthcare System which has been adopted by over 80 Academic Health Centers across the country. The RDR is available for use by Ohio State biomedical research community members (faculty and staff) affiliated with the OSU Wexner Medical Center and/or one of the seven OSU health sciences colleges: Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Veterinary Medicine.

Learn more about Cohort Discovery and Feasibility Analysis

Data Integration

Research Informatics Services (RIS) provides knowledge engineering services focused on the domains of data integration and data modeling, and has developed software to manage distributed data sets. Two exemplary data integration solutions include the Translational Research Informatics and Data management grid (TRIAD) and REDCap-based research registries. Developed by the OSU Department of Biomedical Informatics, TRIAD allows researchers to discover, retrieve, and integrate data and knowledge sources related to their research from multiple systems (e.g., data warehouses, project-specific databases, bio-specimen repositories, etc.), often across multiple institutions, with a single query. TRIAD provides a robust platform for secure information exchange, discovery, and reuse, and ensures that researchers retain ownership and access control for their data. TRIAD is breaking down information silos by allowing institutions to combine disparate data sets to discover more meaningful information while maintaining secure locus of control. RIS has developed a methodology and software platform supporting the rapid development and deployment of REDCap-based research registries requiring seamless integration with the clinical data available in the OSUWMC IW. Utilizing this platform, researchers can rapidly move from concept to activation with minimal informatics development effort, while taking advantage of clinical data captured within the OSUWMC Electronic Health Record (IHIS).

Learn how to access Data Integration services

Informatics Consultation/Project Planning

Research Informatics Services (RIS) provides research project consultation and project planning support.

Researchers may request:

  • Assistance with informatics requirements analysis
  • Consultation for informatics related tools (e.g., REDCap), services and project planning activities, including data collection, storage, availability and access, and team collaboration platforms
  • Letters of support for funding proposals

Learn how to access Informatics Consultation and Project Planning services

Informatics Training

Research Informatics Services provides training and education programs for supported tools, data management best practices, and biomedical informatics.

Opportunities include:

  • Basic and advanced training programs for support tools, such as REDCap and StudyTrax
  • Monthly Brown Bag lunch groups which meet on the second Friday of every month to discuss electronic data capture solutions
  • Biomedical Informatics training opportunities are also available, including graduate education, distance learning and seminars.

Learn how to access Informatics Training services

Research Data Capture Consultation

Research Informatics Services provides consultation, support and training for the following research data collection tools:


REDCap is a secure, web-based application for building and managing online surveys and databases. Also included are a built-in project calendar, scheduling module, randomization module, ad hoc reporting tools, and advanced features, such as branching logic, file uploading, and calculated fields. It is designed exclusively to support data capture for clinical research and trials.


StudyTrax is a secure, web-based application that integrates study management (e.g., create forms, run a study, collect data) with preliminary data analysis and visualization, as well as generating all types of academic output (e.g., manuscripts) and ultimately increasing investigator productivity.

Learn how to access Research Data Collection services

Research Database Consultation

Research Informatics Services (RIS) can assist with research project database needs, including general consultation, data persistence strategy, and computing/storage infrastructure planning. Working in conjunction with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC) Information Technology (IT) department, RIS can facilitate research database solutions through:

  • Consultation on database design, optimization and development across a variety of database platforms
  • Collaboration with OSUWMC IT for secure computing and storage resource allocation

Learn how to access Database Consultation services

Research Collaboration Tools

Research Informatics Services provides collaboration tools for research teams. Communication and coordination between research team members is essential for conducting high-quality research. Collaboration sites are websites that provide a central storage and collaboration space for documents, information, and ideas. Research Informatics Services can facilitate the development of such collaboration sites with features such as wikis, blogs, discussion boards, document libraries, image libraries, announcements, calendars and task lists.

Learn how to access Research Collaboration Tools


Investigators can use the grid computing technology of the TRIAD system for their data integration needs. The field of informatics has been going through a rapid change over the past decade. New technologies, such as grid computing and knowledge anchored data, are combined with major funding and growing community thrusts designed to break down institutional boundaries in order to create a richer research and clinical environment. Funded NIH projects, such as NIH/NCI Cancer Bioinformatics Grid (caBIG), BIRN, and CTSA have lead to new ways to bring together data and services within and across institutional boundaries. Their common purpose is to increase the speed, efficiency, and outcomes of clinical and translational research efforts spanning the field of medicine. The TRIAD system, which will be used as the middleware system enabling The Ohio State University (OSU) Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) to create a scalable, secure, and knowledge anchored data sharing environment, will adopt and adapt the caGrid infrastructure designed for the caBIG program. The Informatics Research and Development (IR&D) group within the Department of Biomedical Informatics at OSU has been involved with these major community efforts in various capacities. For example, since the inception of caBIG, IR&D has been the lead architect and development site for caGrid - a middleware system designed for caBIG in order to create a loosely coupled, yet highly interoperable grid service oriented architecture (SOA). caGrid, in its most basic state, is a generic, domain agnostic software system comprised of grid middleware, tools, and services that can be leveraged to create an SOA that is secure, distributed, and semantically interoperable. The caBIG program uses caGrid as the backbone infrastructure of their cancer research grid infrastructure. Within the OSU CCTS program we are faced with many of the same challenges as the caBIG community, including:

  • Physically and logically disparate community participants.
  • Multi-institutional security interoperability issues.
  • Use of new technologies, which require training, expertise, and process change.
  • Complex federal and local data integrity and privacy constraints.
  • Semantic and syntactic differences in data within and across research groups and institution.

Learn how to access TRIAD


Related Pages

Grant Application Toolkit
Research Informatics Services
Acknowledging CTSA grant support in publications

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