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Supporting the future of research, accelerating the speed of discovery


Biomedical and genomic research have been at the forefront of the “big data” revolution, and the fields of data science and informatics will continue to substantially impact the future of health care. Children’s Mercy was an early pioneer in the field, applying genomics to newborn diagnostics and informatics approaches that have heightened the understanding of pediatric diseases and conditions and illuminated innovative treatment approaches.

Today, the Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI) continues that pioneering pursuit of data-driven discovery through sophisticated technology and a progressive support program that provides information technology-related resources to researchers and their teams.

CMRI’s world-class computational resources store, manage and analyze massive volumes of data. CMRI’s state-of-the-art data center handles the rapidly increasing amount of complex data generated from the Institute’s expanding research endeavors.

Mark Hoffman, PhD
Chief Research Information Officer

The technological resources and capabilities dovetail with the expertise and unique skill set of a dedicated Research Informatics team that ensures information technology expertise is increasingly embedded in research projects. The team also helps CMRI researchers and their teams to harness critical data to solve the most challenging health questions and problems facing children.

 

In addition, the team supports the platforms and workflows specific to CMRI administration, including the platforms used by the Children’s Mercy Institutional Review Board and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, as well as platforms that support grant writing and other endeavors.

Research informatics provides unparalleled resources and support


A designated Research Informatics group at CMRI provides and supports platforms that enable a wide range of research projects and programs at CMRI. The group supports the high-performance computing systems used by researchers and provides early-stage software development for CMRI investigators.

At its core, the Research Informatics group provides technical resources and expertise to the Institute’s flourishing and evolving research enterprise. Bringing together a wide array of skills sets and critical knowledge, informatics support at CMRI enables research administrative systems and innovative solutions.

Some of the key informatics capabilities provided:

  • Comprehensive platforms to support key research processes, such as those involving grants, the Institutional Review Board and safety, among others
  • Custom software development for funded research
  • Support of the Researcher Network to promote internal and external collaboration
  • Management of large-scale research data resources
  • Consultation, project design and management
  • Advanced research computing for high-performance computing
  • Mixed-reality technical support
  • Software and hardware evaluation and review

BioNexus KC Science2Art 2020 exhibition

This was created by Sierra Davis, Data Science Research Associate in Research Informatics, and it was accepted for the BioNexus KC Science2Art 2020 exhibition. 

 

The artwork titled “Lumbar Puncture Pathways” is an alluvial graph that she derived from her team's lumbar puncture paper. Science2Art is a platform for regional scientists to display and describe their research through the visual arts and proceeds from the art auction are donated to STEAM education in KC.

lumbar puncture pathway graph
Created by Sierra Davis, Data Science Research Associate in Research Informatics

Unique access to national data set fuels further discovery


CMRI is one of only a few organizations in the United States with access to the Cerner Health Facts resource, which houses de-identified information from more than 600 U.S. health care sites representing more than 69 million patients.

Data from Cerner Health Facts can be used by CMRI researchers in numerous ways, including to:

  • Gain insight into usage and comparative effectiveness of treatments
  • Improve patient safety and quality of care
  • Track medication utilization across diagnoses and major procedures, as well as by geographical region and hospital type
  • Determine how and when clinicians use a drug, test, procedure or device and gain valuable insights into clinical decisions
  • Reconstruct clinical processes
  • Explore health disparities

With access to this database and its billions of laboratory results, hundreds of millions of medication orders and other valuable data, CMRI researchers are uniquely positioned to tap into this vast resource to advance discovery and improve the health and well-being of children and their families.

Research

Chief Research Information Officer; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Research Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine