NIH Clinical Center

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Activating CRIS

During a year of major transitions, one of the chief milestones — and one of the
most complex — was the changeover from MIS, the hospital’s original Medical Information System, to CRIS, the hospital’s powerful new Clinical Research Information System. With the active involvement of clinical leaders from the institutes, the core medical information system at the heart of CRIS went live on August 23, replacing patient-care functions that for 28 years had been handled by MIS. The culmination of the first phase of a $60-million effort, the project was within budget and was delayed only three weeks from the scheduled activation date.

In 2002 the Clinical Center accepted bids for development of a clinical research information system to replace MIS. Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld led the development team and Dr. Cliff Lane, clinical director of NIAID, headed the steering committee.

“A hospital information system is essentially a tool kit for building a model of how your hospital should operate,” says Dr. Rosenfeld. “These systems don’t come with a starter set. You have to design almost everything from scratch, from where orders go and what orders look like to how things are used.” CRIS will serve as a national model for how to build such systems.

There was a strong feeling of NIH community during the time leading up to the launch, says Dr. Lane. “I think everyone bonded as an NIH community, because everyone knew how important this is, particularly to the safety and the care of the patients.”

CRIS represents the next generation of medical information technology. The second phase of the CRIS project includes a data warehouse, capable of storing and merging clinical and research information. The data warehouse will collect longitudinal patient data for use in research (while protecting patient privacy and confidentiality).

In 2004 the Clinical Center inaugurated a new tool called ProtoType, to help author and manage protocols. Two institutes, NHLBI and NEI, were the first to require use of Prototype in their intramural clinical research programs. The ProtoType system was also installed at Rockefeller University in the fall of 2004 as part of a reciprocal effort to build new tools to facilitate clinical research.

Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld, left, the Clinical Center's new chief information officer, relaxes with Dr. Cliff Lane, NIAID clinical director.
Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld, left, the Clinical Center’s new chief information officer, relaxes with Dr. Cliff Lane, NIAID clinical director. Rosenfeld led the team that developed NIH’s new clinical research information system (CRIS) and Lane headed the project’s steering committee. “There was a strong feeling of NIH community during the time leading up to the launch,” says Lane.
Rosenfeld named chief information officer
Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld was named chief information officer of the Clinical Center and associate director for Clinical Research Information Systems. He has been chief of the Department of Clinical Research Informatics since the department was established in 2001. In that capacity he was responsible for development of the Clinical Research Information System (CRIS), a system designed to replace the 28-year-old Medical Information System. In this new position, Dr. Rosenfeld will direct the Department of Networks and Applications and the Department of Clinical Research Informatics.
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