Research Analytics

Research Analytics TeamThe mission of the Research Analytics group is to support the use of Aurora Health Care’s large electronic health record database for patient-centered research that transforms data into new knowledge and medical decision support.

Top-quality patient-centered research and personalized approaches are important components of Aurora mission to provide patients with the best care and service. Data mining is an integral part of Aurora’s ability to enhance provider clinical quality, individualize treatment and improve financial performance.

Transforming Aurora’s large electronic health record data into new knowledge and support for medical decisions requires new technology and skills as well as additional resource allocation and organizational adjustments.

Aurora’s large volume of electronic health record information is nationally recognized as a valuable business and research resource. When used as part of routine clinical care, Aurora’s data, which are collected from more than 4.7 million diverse patients, have great potential to serve as a rich resource for patient-centered research. Because the data are derived from the local population, the generated knowledge will be most directly relevant to Aurora patients, subsequently providing them with outstanding medical decision support.

The Research Analytics team is responsible for the protection of data. Currently, there are hundreds of scientists and health providers who access Aurora’s electronic health records, on a daily basis, for research purposes. All requests for data are evaluated with regards to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations to ensure that only de-identified data are released, or if identifiers remain on the data, proper protections are in place.

The Research Analytics group also supports organizational growth for clinical research and innovation. The team provides the capacity and infrastructure to both obtain and manage data for research at Aurora Health Care. This group works collaboratively with clinical trials, investigator-initiated research, physicians and outside organizations to leverage health data in order to answer research questions. Research analytics also works with departments and teams from across the organization to integrate data from Aurora’s non-relational databases and medical systems.

Expertise and Skills

Research Analytics has numerous areas of expertise and skills across several focus areas:

Data sets and requests

  • Coordinates data needs and data collection and improves data integrity.
  • Acts as a liaison between researchers and gatekeepers of data.
  • Serves as an honest broker for protected health information.
  • Manages data sets for research and reports.

Registry development and administration

  • Develops custom registries to capture data for research:
    • PeriData.Net®: perinatal registry used by 92 hospitals state-wide including 11 Aurora hospitals.
    • Partial Breast Irradiation (PBI) Registry: tracks the encounters and outcomes of patients receiving partial breast irradiation.
    • Idiopathic Recurrent Acute Pancreatitis (IRAP) Registry: multi-site study to track patients with rare form of acute pancreatitis.
  • Maintains registries through support requests, field changes and server administration.
  • Manages a help desk for PeriData.Net: responding to approximately 100 support requests/month since launch in April 2006 for hospitals across Wisconsin.


  • Gathers requirements from stakeholders and steering committees.
  • Serves as a liaison between Patient-Centered Research, IT and clinical system programs.
  • Collaborates with Enterprise Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse staff.
  • Interacts with external organizations to facilitate data collection and analysis efforts.
  • Provides support and enhancements for custom software:
    • ORBIT: software that integrates with the sample handling robots to verify consented samples and to track sample inventory.
    • Rapid: tracks the withdrawals from the Oracle Health Science Network (HSN).
  • Develops and maintains Oracle databases

Investigator-Initiated Research Projects

Current Investigator Initiated Research projects using Aurora’s extensive electronic health records include:

  • Identifying genetic and environmental risk factors for hypertension and coronary artery disease to provide early guidelines for preemptive lifestyle changes.
  • Identifying markers of treatment resistance and drug toxicity in patients with hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
  • Stratifying patient cohorts based on symptoms similarity (identification of disease forms).
  • Cardiotoxicity of chemotherapy: risk stratification of breast and prostate cancer in patients undergoing chemotherapeutic regimes.
  • Disease-disease correlations (comorbidity ranking) discovery.
  • Real time risk assessment tools predicting 30-day hospital readmissions.
  • Using synthesized, action-oriented evidence to create standardized nurse-sensitive content and decision-support (Best Practice Advisory and other tools) to facilitate workflow.