Biomedical Informatics: Using Data to Improve Health Care

Ben Boulden

One of the most valuable assets of academic health science centers is clinical data generated every time a patient receives care.

This has spawned a relatively new discipline called biomedical informatics, which takes large amounts of health care data and uses it to make improvements in health care.

With forward thinking, in 2010, UAMS leadership charged UAMS Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology staff and faculty with building an Enterprise Data Warehouse.

In 2014, the Enterprise Data Warehouse underwent a major reorganization to enhance the utility of UAMS clinical data to improve clinical operations and research projects.

Charlotte Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D., executive associate dean for research in the College of Medicine, is leading the group working to develop the use of biomedical informatics.

The group is implementing methods that help researchers pull information from the Enterprise Data Warehouse, an ever-expanding data repository of more than 1 million de-identified inpatient, outpatient, lab and registrations records of patients.

As an epidemiologist, pediatrician and research scientist, Hobbs has experience using large databases of medical information to study population health as well as working with patient registries and electronic health records as part of integrated research programs and biorepositories.

By improving ways clinicians and scientists use the Enterprise Data Warehouse, Hobbs hopes that physicians will be able to improve patient care while improving the efficiency with which that care is delivered and even reduce health care costs by eliminating redundant and unnecessary tests.