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Photograph by Sarah Pack, Medical University of South Carolina
Improving health outcomes with a little help from our friends—and artificial intelligence

South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Center

The National Academy of Medicine has called for physicians to document social isolation in the electronic health record (EHR), because it can affect health outcomes. However, social isolation cannot be entered as coded data in current EHRs but only mentioned in clinical notes, which have historically been unintelligible to computers.  Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)  investigators have trained natural language processing software to search clinical notes and identify socially isolated patients with 90 percent accuracy. MUSC owes its expertise in NLP in part to the NCATS-funded South Carolina Clinical & Translational (SCTR) Institute, a Clinical and Translational Science Award hub housed at MUSC. The NLP strategy developed by the MUSC team can be applied to other social determinants of health, particularly those that cannot be entered as coded data, and to other diseases. The team is already using NLP to identify patients with financial insecurity and alcohol abuse.

 

 

May 20, 2019

UNC Health Care
UNC Researchers Receive NIH Grants to Develop STD vaccines

NC TraCS Institute at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has funded cooperative research centers at UNC-Chapel Hill to develop vaccines for chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Toni Darville, MD, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases, vice chair of pediatric research, and professor of pediatrics and microbiology & immunology, is one of the principal investigators receiving the funding. Chlamydia trachomatis is the leading STI in the US. Dr. Darville’s group has been studying the pathogenesis of C. trachomatis for decades and has generated seminal findings on the nature of chlamydial disease.

Since Dr. Darville came to UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013, she and her group have made extensive use of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute’s services, particularly Proposal Development, in her long-term goal of designing better diagnostics, treatments and ultimately a vaccine for C. trachomatis. We have worked with her group over the past 5 years on 9 NIH grant applications, 4 of which received funding.

May 17, 2019

Mayo Clinic
Enhancing the discussion

Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Some look like the kind of flash cards a parent or teacher might use to help children learn basic grade school academics. Others look like simple brochures. Still others are visually inviting websites. What these roughly 15 conversation tools from the Mayo Clinic’s Knowledge, Evaluation and Research Unit (KER) have in common, however, is that they were designed to help clinicians and patients talk through decisions about medical treatment together.

The KER Unit is part of Mayo's Center for Clinical and Translational Science. 

May 16, 2019

NPRM HealthIT.gov
COMMENTS REQUESTED: Notice of Proposed Rule making to Improve the Interoperability of Health Information

CLIC / NCATS

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently proposed a new rule to support seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information (EHI).

The proposed rule is designed to increase innovation and competition by giving patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information and new tools, allowing for more choice in care and treatment. It calls on the healthcare industry to adopt standardized application programming interfaces (APIs), which will help allow individuals to securely and easily access structured EHI using smartphone applications.

The proposed rule places a strong focus on a patient's ability to access their health information through a provision requiring that patients can electronically access all of their EHI (structured and/or unstructured) at no cost. Finally, to further support access and exchange of EHI, the proposed rule implements the information blocking provisions of the Cures Act. The rule proposes seven exceptions to the definition of information blocking.

The public comment period is now open for the proposed rule, comments MUST be received by June 3, 2019

May 15, 2019

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