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Back to In the News

The importance of All of Us Research’s health database for the future

Picture of James Cimino

James Cimino, M.D., director of UAB Informatics Institute is co-investigator for All of Us. (Ariel Worthy Photo, The Birmingham Times)

The goal of the All of Us Research Program is to help researchers understand more about why people get sick or stay healthy. People who join will give information about their health, habits, and what it’s like where they live. By looking for patterns, researchers may learn more about what affects people’s health.

James Cimino, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Informatics Institute is co-investigator for All of Us. Here, Dr. Cimino discusses the program.

What is your role with All of Us: There’s two parts to the data collection that goes on. There’s the data that happens when participants are enrolled; collect information about their health, demographics, family history. That information is collected directly by the All Of Us Data Research Center. A navigator helps with that part. The data that they are interested in from us is the data that comes from the electronic health record.

All of the sites that are enrolling participants have electronic health records, they are enrolling patients who are in their system. That way they can get more data in their system. Maybe laboratory records, medication records, diagnoses that may happen during and outpatient or inpatient visit. Initially they were just starting with very simple things: drugs, allergies, lab results, demographics. Now they’re going with a broader list of data including full text notes. It would be basically dumping our electronic health record to the All of Us Research Center.

I’m in charge of coordinating our local group to providing data out of our system, but also to help each of our partner groups if they have any trouble. Most other groups may not have an informatics group, they may just have an IT department. Getting the data out, getting it in standard form and sending it out is basically the job.