Biomedical Informatics

The Office of Biomedical Informatics provides the UTHSC research community with customized biomedical and clinical informatics applications to help manage complex translational and clinical research needs. Working with the BMI gives PIs access to the Slim-Prim integrated data system: a fully customizable web-service for data collection linked to an encrypted Oracle database. We also employ the REDCap system (under license from Vanderbilt University) for smaller scale projects, surveys and databases.

All databases are maintained here at UTHSC by the Information Technology Services group. All systems are HIPAA and FISMA compliant. See below for more information on these systems.

The Slim-Prim integrated database system

Slim-Prim is a relational database mounted on an Oracle 11g server, providing a robust, scalable enterprise database engine. Slim-Prim is accessed via the Internet though customizable web-applications. Slim-Prim is designed to assemble heterogeneous data from disparate sources into a centralized system using concept mapping allowing for complex, multi-variable queries, accessing multiple tables, in real time. Slim-Prim is system agnostic and is able to incorporate data uploaded direct from text files, Excel and spreadsheets. It can also interface directly with other systems such as FileMaker Pro. To maintain full semantic and syntactic interoperability Slim-Prim uses controlled vocabularies (e.g. ICD-9/10). Slim-Prim runs on most popular web browsers, so accessing the system requires only a web browser and internet access. Slim-Prim has powerful reporting functions which allow complex interrogation of datasets. Data can be bulk-exported or constrained to subsets before export to standard statistical analytics platforms for analysis (SAS, SPSS, Stata etc.).

Costing for Slim-Prim based projects is via FTE recovery only, allowing us to provide Enterprise level support to the campus for a minimal cost.

The REDCap database system

Research Electronic Data Capture system is an intuitive and user-friendly data management system licensed from Vanderbilt University and housed here on campus. The system is designed such that Pis and staff can build and maintain their own data collection systems. The BMI provides training and technical support. This system is ideal for straightforward/non-complex data capture, surveys and databases. Because UTHSC belongs to the REDCap Consortium BMI staff have access to the vast knowledgebase comprising tens of thousands of users using REDCap in projects around the world. Access to REDCap is via minimal fee-for-service model providing PIs with 10GB of data to hold up to 10 projects and 10 users.

Additional Services

In addition to providing expert clinical and research informatics support to UTHSC the BMI also offers expert consulting on research methods and project design, data management, and data collection techniques. We also facilitate access to various research support groups on campus, for example statistical support from the Department of Preventive Medicine, or Human Subjects Research applications to the Institutional Review Board.

To learn more about using any of these systems for your data management needs, please contact the Director of the BMI Dr. Ian Brooks (901-448-5285).