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Research

Investigator Sponsored Research

Investigator sponsored research is unique in that it is funded internally by the division. This is where the junior investigator gets their feet wet. Each first year Fellow is given the opportunity to be mentored, contribute to a research project for presentation at a national meeting and co-author a peer-reviewed manuscript.

Investigator sponsored research product has two goals:

  1. To improve the patient experience.
  2. Provide preliminary data for a government funded grant

Improve the Patient Experience:

Research to improve the patient experience covers a broad-spectrum of opportunities:

  1. Improvement in health care delivery, efficiency and performance.
  2. Quality improvement and systems research.
  3. Provision of patient and family centered care. Dr. Morris is recognized nationally for his work in health care delivery, efficiency and performance. Dr. May's research interest is in quality improvement and outcomes research. And Dr. Miller is a leader in the provision of family centered care.

Preliminary Data:

All government funded initiatives require preliminary data. However, that preliminary data is often clinical in nature and results from a single clinician asking a single, often simple, clinical question:

Why is the ventilator associated pneumonia rate higher in trauma centers than in other intensive care units? That question prompts numerous potential hypothesizes:

  1. Pre-hospital failure of airway control.
  2. Immunosuppression secondary to magnitude of injury.
  3. Genetic predisposition

To answer these questions preliminary data must be generated. Such data may refine the definition of the disease (May), characterize resistance patterns (McNew) or predisposing factors (Miller) or demonstrate basic science associations (Norris). Over time, the accumulation a preliminary data allows the construction of a basic science hypothesis, the generation of a government funded grant or the creation of a new clinical trial.

The investigator initiated research product is supported by the Informatics Core, under the direction of Patrick Norris PhD. Our Informatics Core capitalizes on Vanderbilt's world-class clinical informatics infrastructure, including electronic physician-order, laboratory, microbiology, pharmacy and radiology systems, to provide data on all patients.

Over the past decade, the informatics core has made seminal contributions to over a hundred investigator initiated abstracts and manuscripts.

In addition to data stored in the EMR, the Trauma Center maintains specific data bases to support investigator initiated research. These include: the trauma registry (TRACS), the Signal Interpretation and Monitoring (SIMON) initiative, SICU and Trauma repositories.

TRACS data has been maintained on VUMC patients admitted for trauma since 1990; over 54,000 admissions to date. More than 350 parameters are retrospectively captured following discharge, including demographics, injuries, comorbidities, operative procedures, hospital disposition, complications, costs, resource utilization and lengths of stay at various levels of care.

SIMON is a continuous physiological data management system, developed collaboratively with VUMC and the School of Engineering. SIMON automatically captures vital signs and physiologic waveforms from all trauma ICU beds, including: heart rate, invasive and non-invasive blood pressures, intracranial and cerebral perfusion pressures, arterial and venous oxygen saturations, temperature, pulmonary and central venous pressures, cardiac index, and end diastolic volume index and ventilator parameters.

SIMON is the first system in the country to routinely archive such data over an entire ICU, and to routinely report the first of a new generation of vital signs, heart rate variability (HRV), to clinicians daily. Since December 2000, data has been collected on over 7,000 patients, representing more than 700,000 hours of continuous monitoring and over 50 billion data points.

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This page was last updated January, 2013 and is maintained by Chris Kleymeer