Technology Unites Neighboring Electronic Medical Record Systems

The ONENESS Research Solution (ORS) allows researchers and physicians to analyze UHealth and Jackson Health data to explore research questions, identify health data trends and identify potential clinical trial matches.   

Combining groundbreaking research with outstanding clinical care, UHealth — University of Miami Health System and Jackson Health System are collaborating on a data synthesis project that creates a way for researchers to match patient populations with clinical trial requirements and assess care efficacy.

A doctor's hands tapping on a digital tablet.
UHealth and Jackson researchers can access large amounts of de-identified patient data using the ORS system.

One of the biggest hurdles was integrating two seemingly disparate electronic medical record systems (EMR). Enter the ONENESS Research Solution (ORS), which lets users query data from both systems and allows researchers to easily navigate a multitude of patient data points, including medical conditions and corresponding treatments, medications, allergies and laboratory results.

“This joint collaboration between Jackson and UHealth is yet another example of using technology to benefit patients and make the important work of our faculty more efficient,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “The ONENESS Research Solution will help physician-scientists at UHealth and Jackson quickly and precisely match patients with leading-edge clinical trials.”

The ORS experience succeeds with a blend of simplicity and scope. The user interface is clean, with filtering characteristics displayed vertically along the left border and results differentiated by institution.

This de-identified data can be used to evaluate the suitability of patients across both EMR systems for inclusion in a clinical trial without risk of duplication while providing a longitudinal view of patients’ entire medical histories at both health care systems.

The initiative overcomes the “challenges in conducting research across both institutions, including determining whether the health systems individually and collectively are an optimal fit for a proposed study,” said Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., chief health equity officer and vice president for health equity; multiple principal investigator and co-director of the University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute; associate director, community outreach and engagement, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “ORS provides the researcher an opportunity to examine whether there are enough patients at either or both institutions to meet recruitment goals.”

Miller School of Medicine's Dr. Erin Kobetz
Dr. Erin Kobetz says the ORS system allows for a quick assessment of clinical trial recruitment targets.

“This is the first consolidated view across both Jackson’s and UHealth’s records,” said David Reis, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief information and digital officer at the University of Miami. “With this system, researchers have the ability to mine discrete data fields in the EMR and get the full picture of the patient profile.”

In the initial phases of clinical research planning, when sponsors approach researchers with proposals for testing new interventions, accurate counts for patients who have the characteristics required for inclusion leads to efficient matching of an institution to a particular study.

ORS casts the widest possible net across both UHealth’s and Jackson’s patient records, providing a larger sample size while making sure patients in the sample are not counted twice.

“This is critical for ensuring we do not open trials for which we will fall short of recruitment targets,” said Dr. Kobetz, who is also the John K. and Judy H. Schulte Senior Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

The data manipulation ORS enables is helpful to researchers who want to target a specific condition for a longitudinal study or secondary analysis. Users can begin to produce a viable cohort in a few keystrokes by entering qualifying criteria.

ORS also surmounts the geographic challenges studies often pose by surfacing not only patient conditions and health characteristics, but location, as well.

“You can use the system to look for people of a certain age who live within a certain ZIP code, or range of ZIP codes, with the condition you’re investigating,” Dr. Reis said.

The breadth of ORS’ data processing and analysis invites physicians and researchers to assess and improve the care provided to the community.

“If we want to see how all Black men between the ages of 40 and 60 seen at UHealth and Jackson who take the ACE inhibitor lisinopril for hypertension are doing, ORS can put that data in front of a physician, quickly,” said Dr. Kobetz.

“Investigators can easily query a very large data set that will help them explore questions to allow the development of research protocols and reveal patient care outcomes in our community,” said Chris Ghaemmaghami, M.D., executive vice president, chief physician executive and chief clinical officer, Jackson Health.

Though ORS strips patient identity from its data, the system also has a “re-identification” process should researchers need to contact patients for information pertinent to a study or inform them of a treatment available in a clinical trial.

“After high-level questions are explored, investigators need to dig deeper and cross-reference other data sources,” Dr. Ghaemmaghami said. “This requires them to obtain additional approval to see the medical records in full, including identifiers.”

“The ORS project is a win-win for everyone involved at Jackson and UM: patients, clinicians and researchers,” said Michael Garcia, Jackson’s senior vice president and chief information officer. “By joining forces, we are better leveraging the wealth of patient data and clinical expertise we share across these two health systems to supercharge the pace, intensity and oversight of clinical research to serve patients and medical science.”

All UHealth and JHS employees have access to the system upon completion of the required training prior to requesting access. University of Miami employees wanting to learn more and request access to ORS can go to the ORS website. Jackson Health System employees can go to the EasyCSC Support Portal (01.2_Get_IT_Services) (

A seed funding opportunity will soon be launched to support researchers willing to serve as “early adopters” of ORS to develop research studies.

Tags: clinical trials, Dr. David Reis, Dr. Erin Kobetz, Information Technology, technology