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NCI News Note

New platform developed to link clinical data with electronic health records

  • Posted: February 21, 2012

To make data gathered from patients in clinical trials available for use in standard care, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has created a new computer tool to support interoperability between clinical research and electronic health record systems. This new software represents an innovative solution for rapid and accurate data exchange between systems with diverse applications and information models, a task that is normally time and resource-intensive. 

The platform leverages templates developed by the healthcare industry’s standards making body, known as Health Level 7, or HL7.  The templates use what is known as Clinical Document Architecture (CDA). The systems that receive the data will be able to parse and use it to facilitate secondary analyses – another step towards precision medicine. The software, which will be freely available under an open-source license, will be in use later this year as part of NCI’s unique platform known as TRANSCEND.  This platform will support clinical trials beginning with a breast cancer trial known as I SPY2, led by Laura Esserman, M.D., at the University of California San Francisco. Through the adoption of this software, healthcare providers will be able to make progress in fulfilling some of the mandated criteria for the meaningful use of electronic health records, and clinical trial sites will be able to improve efficiency and quality.  This can speed the delivery of new therapies as well as furnish physicians with the details of a patient’s study participation.

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