Need and impact

In the last decade, we have seen significant advances in the volume and type of data routinely collected and generated in the healthcare domain. Studies have shown that the accumulated healthcare data has great potential for improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare. Therefore, big data in healthcare has emerged as a major area of interest and concern. Due to the great variety of health data, privacy issues, and complexity of healthcare workflows, conducting big data studies using health data requires that a researcher have close relationships and strong collaborations with healthcare organizations and industry partners. Many early career big data researchers face challenges in developing such collaborations and in gaining access to health data as well as access to clinical domain experts.

Yet collaboration is critical for both early career clinical investigators and data science researchers. During our regular BioDLP seminar series, we constantly see clinical investigators looking for data sciences collaborators with data manipulation and modeling skills to analyze health data. In addition, data science researchers are also looking for clinical experts’ that are able to assist in the analysis and interpretation of clinical outcomes, at both the level of the individual patient and the patient population. Therefore, in our experience, there is a compelling need to provide research training that takes the social and operational dimensions of big data research very seriously by providing training in cross-institutional multidisciplinary collaboration for early career researchers.

Community building activities

We offer a series of 4 collaborative workshops during the period June 2016 to September 2016 that will provide collaboration and partnership training to early career clinical investigators and data science researchers. The workshops will focus on using big data-driven approaches to improve healthcare outcomes and enhance the efficiency of healthcare workflows.

The workshops are expected to involve a total of 80 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty participants from 20 Midwest institutions. Using our existing multimedia and distance learning infrastructure, the workshop will support both face-to-face and remote online presentation and participation.

Justification of the benefits

This project will greatly benefit early career researchers, educators and healthcare industry partners. The multidisciplinary approach provides a stimulating and resource-rich environment for early career researchers to learn from different disciplines and develop collaborations.

The bootstrapping format of the workshops will foster community building among researchers and healthcare industry partners, which will facilitate building support networks and acquiring access to clinical data for research. The workshops also will deepen participants understanding of important elements of developing a successful big data project through the demonstration of cutting-edge projects from leading researchers.

Success metrics

Participants will be surveyed to collect common interests, research needs, and evaluation of the workshops. The success of the project will be measured by (1) the number of early career participants, both online and face-to-face;

(2) analyses of the evaluation surveys collected during the workshops; (3) the quality and initial successes of the collaboration plans presented at the final conference; and finally, (4) the subsequent successes of the participants with implementations of their collaboration plans.