Medical research IT
Web solution launched for scleroderma
MONTREAL – The Canadian Scleroderma Research Group (CSRG),
based at the Jewish General Hospital, in Montreal, has recently migrated
its database to Datazoom Solutions and have re-launched their
nation-wide registry for scleroderma. Rheumatologists from 16 centres
across Canada are contributing data about scleroderma patients to this
According to Datazoom Solutions, of Mississauga, Ont., the web-based
registry has been designed and developed using state-of-the-art .Net
technology and is powered by the Oracle database. Datazoom (www.datazoomsolutions.com)
is a healthcare research software development company.
Scleroderma is a disease that affects the skin (it literally means
‘hardening of the skin’), and in severe cases, it can affect the blood
vessels, musculoskeletal system and internal organs such as the lungs,
kidneys and bowel.
“Datazoom Solutions has implemented a feature-rich, secure and robust
solution for the CSRG,” said Suzanne S. Taillefer, National Research
Coordinator for the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group. “The
scleroderma registry enables us to easily collect, store and access
accurate data from multiple clinical sites across Canada. This large
national data sample will be extremely helpful for advancing research to
better understand and treat this debilitating disease.
“Datazoom’s real-time data extraction mechanism,” she added, “interfaces
with statistical analysis tools and empowers the data analysis users.”
In addition to collecting and storing information, the web application
has been developed as a primary benchmarking tool for tracking data
quality indicators and research program efficiencies at multiple
locations. It is expected to enhance scleroderma research data
collection flow by automating the coordination of services.
“An integrated database will help us to make faster and more informed
research decisions,” said Dr. Murray Baron, Principal Investigator of
CSRG at Jewish General Hospital. “The data quality controls embedded in
the Datazoom application will facilitate an easy and seamless North
America-wide data collaboration process, while enhancing data quality
The CSRG registry application is hosted by Datazoom and uses the latest
security and encryption mechanisms for storing sensitive research data.
Datazoom has provided a self-service, real-time data extraction utility
for the researchers and an easy integration path for statistical
analysis tools such as SPSS. Datazoom’s secure web-based application can
be launched from the hospital intranet, independent clinics, and even
remotely via the internet.
Datazoom’s Chief Technology Officer, Rajesh Dixit, explained that a
phased approach was adopted, due to the size and complexity of the
project. “We are glad that Datazoom was able to evolve the application
from one phase to another, while meeting the timelines and budget
schedules of CSRG,” said Dixit. “Datazoom successfully addressed several
challenges during this project regarding data migration, system features
and user expectations.”
CSRG’s Datazoom web application provides military-grade security
measures and uses SSL with 256-bit encryption. Site level and user level
data access controls are provided throughout the application. Data
validation and immediate feedback is incorporated for data entry users
using soft and hard ranges for relevant fields.
Data Quality and integrity is maintained by using innovative features
such as “Missing Fields” information and automatic next visit
scheduling. Workflow has been built into the application and email
notifications are sent on important events to the research coordinators.
A “train-the-trainer” approach was used for end-user education and
web-based training was conducted by CSRG for multiple sites.
Datazoom Solutions has developed several other software solutions,
including applications in the field of rheumatology. For a joint project
between Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre and CaNIOS, based at the Toronto
Western Hospital, Datazoom devised a distributed database solution for
more than 10 centres in Canada.
These distributed Access databases are then centralized into a larger
Oracle database based in Winnipeg. This project centralizes data from
across Canada for lupus patients, and research is conducted on the data
to improve diagnosis and treatment options for lupus.
Datazoom has also developed a pilot solution for study of
spondyloarthritis and is actively working on projects for other types of
arthritis, as well as heart disease and stroke. According to the
company, Datazoom has solutions that scale from single site, small
Access databases all the way up to large Oracle-based, nationwide