VICTR Office of Research Informatics
What is the Office of Research Informatics?
We are a group of about 100 people working on 15 different teams to design and build software, data pipelines, and cloud solutions for thousands of clinical researchers making life-changing differences for millions of people. Our work makes it possible for people in need to connect with clinical trials, volunteers to securely share confidential medical details, administrators to easily review and approve research studies, and researchers to discover consequential patterns among terabytes of data.
Our Programming Teams
We realize there is not a one-size-fits-all technology stack, so we select the languages and tools which allow us to provide the greatest benefit for medical research without wasting time reinventing the wheel.
We also have teams developing mobile applications in iOS, Android and Flutter, as well as a team that specializes in creating custom WordPress websites.
We do not live on the bleeding edge of software development or rush after the latest fad. While we keep up with improvements in tooling, our teams focus on providing stable, robust, user-friendly applications which effectively address the needs of researchers and advance the technology in our field. Making better research tools is more important to us than using the latest technical gadget.
The cloud is the future for our department and for computing. Leveraging a multi-cloud strategy utilizing cloud computing resources from both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform in addition to VUMC’s private cloud offering, our cloud services team ensures there is a dynamic and resilient platform for the organization.
Our DevOps engineers design and build out continuous delivery pipelines, cloud engineers build and maintain the platform, system administrators ensure system stability and security and our architects partner with the development teams to design and guide them on their cloud modernization journey.
Data is the foundation of research, and our team is responsible for providing a solid foundation. We collect, transform, secure, store and provide terabytes of data for researchers, from DNA sequences and electronic medical records to radiology images and research participant survey responses.
Since medical data is sensitive and protected by HIPAA laws, our teams work to provide data that meets the needs of researchers without compromising the privacy of patients. To that end we provide both identified and de-identified data sets depending on the use case, and we build tools to expose enough information without sacrificing individual privacy.
As a member of multiple research consortiums, including one of the largest medical data collection projects ever undertaken in our role as the Data and Research Center for the All Of Us Research Program, we consume and provide data in a variety of standardized formats including FHIR, OMOP, PCORI CDM, and i2B2.
We make all of this data useful by creating about a dozen different applications to access, review, search, export and parse different sets of data. These tools are built in Java, Python, SQL, PL/SQL, shell scripts and other technologies as needed.
Team SizeOur development teams are typically small (two or three developers per project) and stable, allowing programmers to become highly knowledgeable and efficient in their area of specialization. In many cases they are more than just coders, they are part of a team imagining and creating solutions for researchers.
As a research institution, our goal is not to beat the competition or make a quick buck, it’s to discover insights and treatments that will help everyone. To that end, our departments have a strong sense of cooperation, both internally and externally.
Within our department our teams share available resources and cooperate to find solutions to technical issues.
Beyond our organization, we serve as a leader in research across the country. Our teams collaborate with partner institutions on many projects, our developers working side-by-side with those at other research institutions or with programmers at technology partners like Google and Microsoft.
Professional Development Working together we make each other better. Most of our teams meet regularly to “show-and-tell” what they’ve learned with others who work on the same tech stack. We also host weekly language-specific co-op groups and monthly training workshops that cover a variety of technical topics.
We are devoted to nurturing a culture of best practices across all teams. We continuously review and promote practical solutions from automated testing and Agile practices to scripted database migrations and containerized applications for local development. As one team discovers new methods which work well for them, they share those insights with other teams so we can all improve.
Join Our Team!
ORI continues to grow as our success in building impactful clinical research informatics solutions leads to greater scope and more opportunities. If you are interested in joining our team, check out our job board to see if we are looking for someone with your skills. It’s always a joy to find talented folks who want to join us in making a difference.