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eGEMS Is a Gem

January 23, 2013
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New e-publication focuses on quality improvement efforts using electronic clinical data

It appears that there is a great new resource on the scene for those interested in how the use of clinical data can improve health outcomes. Last week, AcademyHealth launched eGEMS, a free, peer-reviewed e-publication.

The stated goal of eGEMs, short for “Generating Evidence and Methods to improve patient outcomes,” is to facilitate rapid dissemination of strategies that advance the science of comparative effectiveness research, patient-centered outcomes research and quality improvement using electronic clinical data.

“Traditional peer-reviewed journals largely focus on the end result of a research project—the outcomes or findings—and less on the procedural, technical, and methodological building blocks that generate research findings … the traditional approach tends to narrow-in on the ‘destination’ of scientific discovery rather than the ‘journey,’” wrote eGEMs Editor-in-Chief Erin Holve, Ph.D., in the opening commentary. “In big science, particularly in big, collaborative, multi-disciplinary science using electronic clinical data, there are a lot of moving parts, a lot of sub-analyses, and a lot of contributors whose more granular contributions to the ‘journey’ have scientific merit and are useful to the community. This is where eGEMs comes in.”

As an example of the type of article you’ll find there, there is a great piece by Keith Marsolo, Ph.D., director of software development and data warehouse at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, on the effort to create an EHR-linked multicenter registry. Among other things, his paper details efforts to create an EHR-linked multicenter registry for ImproveCareNow, a quality improvement and research network focused on improving outcomes for children with inflammatory bowel disease.

Marsolo is leading the development of a research data warehouse at Cincinnati Children's.  Based on a framework known as i2b2, the warehouse enables users to perform a hospital-wide search of a de-identified data set to determine the existence of a patient cohort.  The warehouse incorporates data from the hospital's new Epic electronic health record as well as from many other database systems used by hospital clinicians and researchers.  To protect the privacy of patients, Marsolo and his group also ensure that the appropriate regulatory and security safeguards are in place. 

Check out Marsolo’s article and all the others in the inaugural issue of eGEMs: I'll be looking forward to the second issue.