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Medical research IT

Web solution launched for scleroderma research

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 registry.

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 ( 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 and integrity.”

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 multi-centre studies.