The increasingly complex and intertwined landscapes of health care and research require collaboration. That’s the underlying philosophy of the Joint Data Analytics Team (JDAT), formed in October 2014 to handle clinical and research analytics and reporting across the health system and the School of Medicine.
Comprising more than 60 informaticists and analysts working in a single location at 300 George Street, JDAT centralizes and coordinates all data analytics, and supports Helix, Yale’s customized data warehouse system. Instead of users having to gather reports from different sources, the JDAT team navigates the complicated back end of finding the data; does all of the reporting, analytics, and dashboards; and works with Epic to refine and develop Helix.
On the clinical side, the JDAT team, led by Michael Legg, Executive Director, Reporting and Analytics for the Yale New Haven Health System, is focused on improving patient care and safety by identifying variations in care and understanding how they occurred. On the research side, there is a dedicated group that handles research requests. About 15 percent of the 300 or so requests that JDAT receives each month are related to research, looking for patients who may be eligible for a particular protocol, for example. Although JDAT has been operating for only just over a year, Yale is already recognized as a national leader in creating a centralized analytics team for both clinical and research data.
JDAT staff members work collaboratively, drawing upon one another’s expertise as necessary. They are trained and certified by Epic in analytics, database administration, and maintenance. Those dedicated to research receive additional training in order to understand research protocols, patient safety and protection guidelines/processes, and how to navigate Yale’s CTMS.
"We’ve been spending the last year cross-training people and trying to make sure we’re a more agile group,” said Legg.
Gathering data electronically is faster and easier today compared to the era of paper charts, but it also requires vigilance in order to protect patients. JDAT uses both technology and processes—including policies, auditing, and data governance—to ensure data security. Researchers are required to have IRB approval or a waiver before gaining access to identified clinical data. Since JDAT handles all requests for data and has a single pipeline and set of protocols that are followed before data are released, the process is transparent.
The School of Medicine provided the additional resources needed to hire JDAT’s dedicated research team—an investment that is already paying off. “I’m delighted that faculty members are already making use of this service,” said YSM Dean Robert J. Alpern, MD. “It’s gratifying to see what they’ve accomplished in a short time, and I look forward to building on the momentum we’ve begun.”