In a sign of the growing reputation of the CHOC Research Institute, associates in its Research Computational and Data Science Program have won a 2022 Best Paper Award from the national journal Data in Brief.
The paper, “Cerner Real-World Data (CRWD)—A De-Identified Multicenter Electronic Health Records Database,” was one of only two research reports honored by Data in Brief, a peer-reviewed journal that mainly publishes articles that describe and provide access to research data.
Louis Ehwerhemuepha, Ph.D., who leads CHOC’s Research Computational and Data Science Program; research computational scientist Tatiana Moreno; and Bill Feaster, former chief health information officer at CHOC and now a consultant for The Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence, Information, Investigation, and Innovation Institute (Mi4), co-wrote the paper with five collaborators at Cerner Corp.
“There was a need to provide a formal description of one of the largest EHR big data sources,” Dr. Ehwerhemuepha said. “We elected to address this need given that we were a leading institution in the use of the data for research and informing clinical care.”
A world of potential
The award-winning CHOC paper includes health information from more than 100 million patients in the CRWD database in the United States, and includes a breakdown of 3.8 million patients who were diagnosed with the virus that causes COVID-19.
The records include information on health care encounters, diagnosed conditions, medical testing results, immunization records, and taken medications. CRWD data can be accessed for research purposes through a licensing agreement with Cerner.
In selecting CHOC’s paper as one of its two annual winners, Data in Brief Editors-in-Chief Noemi Sinkovics and Nicholas Pulled noted that access and maintenance of critical health records have often been opaque and difficult to reproduce.
“The opening up of very large — some might say huge — databases of this scale to researchers by reasonable means is an extraordinary, though necessary, step toward better understanding of what it means to be healthy — or sick,” the editors in chief wrote.
“This database provides great potential for statistical modeling and machine learning in biomedicine,” they added. “Owing to the size, scope, and novelty of industry engagement in this space, we applaud the authors of this paper and designate it a ‘Best Paper of 2022.’”
A growing program
Only two years old, the Computational and Data Science Program of the CHOC Research Institute, led by Dr. Ehwerhemuepha, is involved in more than 120 research projects and more than 20 artificial intelligence (A.I.)-related studies.
“This is a very exciting time for CHOC and the CHOC Research Institute,” said Phuong Dao, JD, executive director, Research Operations.
In the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CHOC Research Institute, with unwavering support from hospital administration, launched a comprehensive five-year research strategic plan in February 2020 and has emerged stronger than ever.
The institute has experienced remarkable growth, including the doubling of its research workforce and the establishment of new core infrastructures and research services, such as the creation of the Research Computational and Data Science Program.
It has initiated hundreds of new research studies, with almost 600 active human subject studies – up from around 350 three years ago, published significant peer-reviewed manuscripts, and most importantly has had an ever-increasing impact on the health and well-being of children.
“CHOC researchers and the Research Institute are actively contributing to the advancement of pediatric research with tangible applications at the bedside,” Phuong said. “This accomplishment is one among many, and it’s truly gratifying to receive this external recognition for the impactful work our teams do.”
Learn more about research at CHOC