Tools for Faster and Cheaper Delivery of Integrated Registries

Period of Performance: 01/01/2017 - 12/31/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Prometheus Research
New Haven, CT 06510
Principal Investigator


The goal of this project is to enable faster, cheaper delivery of integrated registries for mental health research centers by improving the Research Exchange Database (RexDB), an open-source integrated registry platform developed by Prometheus Research during a prior Phase I SBIR award. Integrated research registries can provide many benefits to mental health researchers and organizations, including easier data use and reuse, reduced overhead, more effective data management practices, and better data sharing. However, registries are expensive to build and even more expensive to maintain, with maintenance accounting for the vast majority of a registry's total cost. Factors that contribute to these high costs include: overutilization of expensive labor (e.g., software developers and database programmers); building custom, home-grown registries from a patchwork of proprietary or locally-developed tools; and failure to engineer registries for maintainability in the face of high data variety, high metadata volatility, and complex data provenance. RexDB was built to solve these problems by empowering mental health research centers to support cost-effective, centralized data management processes. It does this by (a) serving as an open-source, end-to-end registry platform, and (b) empowering semi-technical research staff, in a role we call ?configuration analyst,? to perform the configuration functions formerly reserved for high-cost software developers and database administrators. In Phase II, we propose to create better tools that empower analysts to configure RexDB-based registries with less training. Currently, analysts must configure RexDB by editing multiple text files, requiring them to know and monitor technical details that slow down the work. We propose to develop and evaluate two products to improve analysts' efficiency and effectiveness: the RexDB Integrated Development Environment for Analysts (RexIDEA), a graphical user interface that enables analysts to configure integrated registries (Aim 1); and RexDB University (RexU), a web portal containing self-guided training materials for teaching analysts how to use RexIDEA (Aim 2). RexIDEA (Aim 1) will be composed of a graphical user interface that enables an analyst to configure and deploy (Aim 1.1) a default database and web application, (Aim 1.2) analytic data marts, and (Aim 1.3) user workflows. We will then pilot RexU to further boost analysts' capacity for efficient and effective RexDB configuration with RexIDEA. Completion of these Aims will yield a suite of tools and training products that help analysts configure and maintain RexDB-based integrated registry systems more quickly and effectively, lowering the cost of conducting research at their institutions and of sharing data across projects. Ultimately, by lowering the cost of organizing research data, this work will facilitate data use, reuse, and sharing, accelerating discovery.