University of California, San Francisco First to Implement New O-ShaRP Program from Forte Research Systems

UCSF Translational Informatics team will leverage previous success at the cancer center to expand clinical research informatics system across the enterprise

MADISON, Wis., Aug. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Institutions, like the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), that have successful clinical research informatics programs are expanding these services across their organizations with a new program developed by Forte Research Systems, Inc. The program, called the OnCore Shared Resource Partnership, or O-ShaRP™, was designed to meet the specific needs of large organizations who wish to offer centralized clinical research informatics infrastructure and services across the enterprise.


"We have been working with world-class research organizations for more than 11 years. In our experience, we have seen that large, multi-departmental institutes have unique challenges when it comes to rolling out a centralized system," said Srini Kalluri, Founder, President, CEO and Chief Customer Experience Officer at Forte Research Systems.

For large institutes, gaining consensus, procuring a system, and rolling it out can be extremely time consuming. In the meantime, individual research groups often resort to acquiring small, local systems to meet their immediate needs. The data maintained in these disparate systems are not compatible with each other, but the systems become entrenched, creating roadblocks to future attempts at standardization.

Even when an institution has selected a system upon which to standardize, there remain significant challenges with traditional rollout strategies. One approach that is often favored is to attempt to roll out a centralized system across the enterprise in one, all-encompassing wave. Unfortunately, this "Big Bang" approach leaves the institution exposed on many fronts. For starters, there is a large procurement cost for software systems scaled for thousands of users. Then, with just a single, large goal, the institution must wait a long time to see the result of their efforts, rather than achieving several small incremental successes. And finally, external project management firms are often hired leaving the institution exposed to limitless services fees.

"The ideal solution should address the immediate needs of individual groups, eliminate large up-front procurement costs, provide comprehensive functionality, and foster self-sufficiency," Kalluri said.

It was to meet these exact criteria that Forte Research Systems developed the O-ShaRP program. With O-ShaRP, organizations who have teams with the capacity to provide centralized infrastructure and support can take advantage of a suite of resources from Forte Research Systems, along with flexible licensing terms in order to provide access to the OnCore system across the clinical research enterprise.

When Forte Research Systems launched the O-ShaRP program this spring, UCSF was the first to express interest.

"The timing was perfect. The success of the cancer center was very high, two years after deploying OnCore, and cancer center leadership was enthusiastic about expanding our knowledge and infrastructure to support the mission of the campus," said Sorena Nadaf, M.S., M.MI, Director of Translational Informatics at UCSF.

Since 2009, the Translational Informatics Shared Resource at UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HDFCCC), under the leadership of Nadaf, has been building a suite of services to support clinical, translational, and biomedical research and to improve clinical care. They did this in a number of ways, one of which was to implement a centralized clinical trials management system (CTMS) and data repository, the OnCore Clinical Research Management system (OnCore-CRM).

By 2011, HDFCCC was also providing services and access to the OnCore system to additional research groups outside the cancer center, including the UCSF School of Dentistry.

As an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, HDFCCC is among an elite group of research organizations. Leveraging the cancer center's knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the entire campus was a logical next step. Leadership teams from across the organization got together to discuss whether a centralized shared resource could meet everyone's needs.

"Deploying an electronic clinical trial management system was identified by our faculty as one of the key steps to strengthening the UCSF clinical research enterprise," said Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Susanne Hildebrand-Zanki.  "Leveraging the Cancer Center's expertise allows us to roll out OnCore to the campus with very little lead time."

"There are differences in the studies, but at the base, the similarities overwhelm the differences," Nadaf said. "It's really about the expertise and domain knowledge on how to manage trials from letter of intent through study close."

The expansion of clinical research informatics at UCSF will occur on a couple of different fronts. For one thing, the group will continue ongoing projects to integrate the OnCore data repository with the university's electronic medical record system from Epic and institutional review board system from iMedRIS. Individual research groups will be trained and given access to the OnCore-CRM system in a phased approach. Additionally, Nadaf plans to support research groups conducting non-therapeutic trials in the future.

With the new O-ShaRP licensing model, UCSF gained enterprise-wide access to not only OnCore-CRM but also to the OnCore system for Biospecimen Management (OnCore-BSM) and the OnCore system for Unified Registries Management (OnCore-URM).

"That is a big part of our future plans -- to correlate patient data and impact patient care directly through the use of registries and surveys in addition to clinical trials. The worlds are coming together, and the end-point is patient care," Nadaf said.

Rolling out the new program will require the mobilization of resources at both Forte Research Systems and at UCSF. For example, members of the UCSF team will receive training and certification from Forte Research Systems to develop in-house expertise in a variety of areas related to OnCore, including technologies administration, team training, and system implementation.

"This partnership is a really good example of how industry and academia can come together to solve difficult problems. It takes expertise on both ends to make it work," Nadaf said.

About Forte Research Systems

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, Forte Research Systems, Inc. develops clinical and translational research management software. The company's flagship product, the OnCore® system, is the nation's most widely adopted clinical research platform among academic research organizations and cancer centers. The OnCore platform is the result of over a decade of experience working closely with large research organizations, including institutes funded by the National Institute of Health's Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program and forty percent of the NCI designated cancer centers.

For information about the OnCore clinical research informatics platform, contact Forte Research Systems at (608) 826-6002 or visit the company online at

About UCSF

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It is the only UC campus in the 10-campus system dedicated exclusively to the health sciences.

UCSF today boasts high-ranking schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy and a Graduate Division, plus one of the nation's top programs in patient care. All four professional schools, virtually all UCSF graduate programs, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital rank among the best in the country in the latest surveys by US News & World Report and other agencies.

A hallmark of UCSF excellence is a spirit of collaboration among all disciplines that carries through its wide spectrum of patient care, research and education programs, fostering an environment of innovation and discovery. The result is groundbreaking life sciences research and world-class health care that support UCSF's mission: advancing health worldwide™.  

SOURCE Forte Research Systems