Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799
Phone: (301) 295-2163
FAX: (301) 295-3585
Pamela Cross, Secretary
The Biomedical Informatics Department is located on the ground floor of the main campus, around the corner from the Security Office that's accessible from the USU parking garage tunnel entrance.
Faculty members in our department are passionate about research and advancing science. While we are small in size, our faculty members are engaged in research spanning bioinformatics, clinical informatics, and public health informatics. Summaries of ongoing projects may be accessed through the links below:
research studies focused at the molecular and cellular levels.
Molecular dynamics simulations provide probably the most realistic description of all biological events at the molecular level. Motions below 200 wave numbers are of particular interest since they contribute virtually all of the vibrational entropy and directly influence many biological processes and drug-protein interactions. Measurements of the vibrational spectrum in this region yield direct information about the potential energy hypersurface, and these measurements can be used to validate molecular mechanics potential functions.
The vibrational frequencies (normal modes), diffraction structures, and atomic displacements of amino acids and short peptides in crystals can be measured at a high resolution, establishing a clear relationship between structure, motion, and the potential energy surface. So these systems make interesting models for molecular dynamics in proteins.
We are presently validating quantum mechanical potential functions below 200 wavenumbers against experimental evidence provided by inelastic neutron scattering, Terahertz, and Raman spectroscopy. Our van der Waals corrected density functional theory calculations match experimentally observed normal modes and intensities down to about 20 wavenumbers, indicating that our model is correct.
Robert Williams, PhD — Principal Investigator
research studies focused at the clinical or health-systems level.
Original Research: Quality of Clinical Encounter Note in AHLTA
Despite national attention regarding "quality" and patient care, there are no criteria or standards for rating the quality of notes that doctors write in a patient's chart. This prevents accurate use of clinic notes as one 'measure' of the quality of patient care. This problem is made worse when a computerized (electronic) medical record is first used in a clinical practice. The objective of our study, therefore, is to develop a tool to measure the quality of clinical encounter notes in a patient's record, whether this record is a paper record or an electronic record. The process to do this involves input from multiple individuals in the healthcare system: providers, nurses, administrators and patients. We will first develop a tool to measure the quality of patient notes. We will then use this tool to measure how the introduction of an electronic medical record (AHLTA) into the military healthcare system has impacted the quality of notes that providers write. We believe that high quality documentation in medical records is important for continuity of care and patient safety, and the long-term goal of our study is to develop an instrument for measuring the quality of notes about patients that others can use to document note quality in their own healthcare systems.
Ron Gimbel, PhD, Principal Investigator
Louis Pangaro, MD, Associate Investigator
Jan Hanson, PhD, Associate Investigator
CAPT Mark Stephens, MD, Associate Investigator
Galen Barbour, MD, Associate Investigator
Original research: social marketing in medical education: influencing use of evidence-based templates within an electronic medical record
Physician handwriting has been perceived by both support staff and patients as challenging to read and understand. One benefit of an electronic medical record (EMR) system, therefore, is the ability to legibly and accurately record clinical notes about patient care. EMR systems can also "prompt" physicians with reminders and evidence-based templates to help them make decisions based on the latest medical findings.
Our study is an educational effort designed to teach students, medical residents and staff doctors how to use computerized medical records in a way that will improve their ability to care for patients in an efficient manner. This study is registered as a randomized controlled trial with www.clinicaltrials.gov (registration #NCT01043133).
Ron Gimbel, PhD, Principal Investigator
Mark Stephens, MD, Associate Investigator &Medical Director
Pam Williams, MD, Associate Investigator &Clerkship Director
Cara Olsen, DrPH, Statistical Consultant
research studies focused on population, public health or global levels.
Original research: factors affecting implementation of health-related programs in developing countries
Billions of dollars have been invested in health-related programs implemented in developing countries to combat infectious diseases, improve general health and quality-of-life of the populous, and in the process enhance global security. Health-related programs vary in focus and intensity. While some are structured around educational interventions or building clinical/health infrastructure, others target technological advances to improve health. Despite the financial, human and political capital invested in health-related programs in developing countries, there has been little empirical research on the factors relating to successful implementation of such programs. As we prepare for our quest to build an empirical model that predicts program implementation success in developing countries, we begin our efforts with a systematic review of the literature.
Cecilia Mundaca, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator & Doctoral Student
Ron Gimbel, PhD, Associate Investigator &Doctoral Advisor