Cerner, Duke collaborating to analyze patient data for cardiovascular disease treatment

Current clinical research registries rely largely on manual processes and can be too slow to realize the full potential of the data they collect, according to researchers.

Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) is working with health IT company Cerner on a pilot project to analyze de-identified patient data to find the most effective treatment options for chronic cardiovascular disease. The pilot project also has the potential to innovate clinical research registries, the organizations said.

DCRI researchers will use Cerner technology, called the Cerner Learning Health Network, to analyze de-identified patient data from the University of Missouri Health Care and Ascension Seton, in partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, for the pilot project and study.

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Cerner and the DCRI aim to bring together data and intelligence to provide clinicians insights on chronic cardiovascular disease, which if not treated properly can lead to heart disease and stroke.

“Current models for clinical research and registries that rely on mostly manual chart abstraction are too expensive, too slow and too small to continue. We have to figure out better ways to leverage existing electronic resources to transform how we do clinical research,” Ann Marie Navar, M.D., principal investigator and cardiovascular prevention researcher at the DCRI, said in a statement.

The EHR is an obvious starting point, Navar said, noting that Cerner's HealtheIntent platform incorporates data from multiple EHRs and can link to national mortality and claims databases.

Cerner developed the learning health network as a tool to automate data collection from multiple sources, including electronic health records, to give medical researchers access to important information.

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"We have an opportunity to use clinical research and data-driven insights to develop an intelligent network of health systems that can truly improve health experiences and outcomes for patients," Art Glasgow, senior vice president for strategic growth at Cerner, said in a statement.

Researches will leverage Cerner's HealtheDataLab with the learning health network to aggregate de-identified patient data from both Cerner and non-Cerner EHRs. Researchers can use the data sets to develop research-ready formats and build complex models and algorithms to give providers more information to make more informed care decisions, Cerner officials said.

The DCRI plans to publish the research results from the pilot project in a study sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, with several products used to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease.