Institute Overview

MALRAM (the Institute for Special Medical Services) is a unit within Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv where routine annual general health check-up evaluations are performed on individuals as a preventive measure as well as to identify specific ailments.

Researchers at the Institute have been performing research since 2003, collecting more than 5,000 pieces of data on each of more than 20,000 subjects.  In addition to patient-derived information, other data sources include the EHR system as well as external data on air pollution and the Israel National Cancer Registry.

Challenges

In 2003 the Institute implemented a customized software solution designed for researchers, which was used over a period of 5 years.  The software became cumbersome and expensive to use and service was limited.  They then began using Excel and Access, but as the amount of data grew, its shortfalls became more pronounced:

  • Multiple databases were used to collect information
  • A significant amount of time was dedicated to copying data from other systems and pasting into the database since it did not interface with them
  • Dependency on IT personnel resulted in significant delays in drawing clinical data from the EHR
  • Manual data entry was unreliable and error-prone and was influenced by the work habits of each person entering the data
  • The amount and complexity of data became cumbersome to manage
  • Calculations were performed manually in Excel
  • Modifying and updating questionnaires was inflexible

“The tools we used for research became ineffective, mainly because of the large amounts of data we collected. Data+ created a unified database.  The interfaces alone save us more than 75% of the time we used to spend on copying and pasting clinical information.  Using Data+ means we have complete control over the system and do not depend on others to provide us clinical care information, to make changes to forms and questionnaires, create and reposition fields, establish new research, etc.  With Data+ we work more efficiently.”

Sharon Toker, Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University

“The team at Data+ truly has a “can-do” attitude. They’ve worked closely with us from the start, learning from our experience and needs and designing relevant, tailored solutions.  The ability to pull up-to-date, reliable data any time from other systems like the EHR has brought us tremendous value.  The mechanism that assures data integrity has proven very valuable as well.”

Shani Shenhar – Tsarfaty, researcher at Sourasky Medical Center

Solution

Prior to working with Data+, researchers at the Institute used Excel and Access for data collection and management.  When Data+ was implemented, it enabled users to upload already collected data, while automatically identifying inaccuracies, incompatibilities and missing data.  It further addressed the following challenges:

  • Single, secure database containing reliable data, which could be used for sophisticated research and analysis.
  • Seamlessly and ad-hoc pull data from the EHR system through a direct interface
  • Custom-design automatically calculate scores
  • Automated patient engagement tools.  Independently-built questionnaires and patient feedback reports
  • Keyboard-based UI, designed for typists needs

MALRAM Users Say…

“The system is very intuitive and offers all the functionalities you need. When I explained it to people, it didn’t take more than once”

“The system minimizes errors and prevents inconsistency. With hard copies, sometimes people would skip certain fields, whether intentionally or not. With Data+, that doesn’t happen. Also, you can always go back and correct any mistakes you made”

“In one of our departments, each process is different and requires different templates. NextStep built a custom feature that enables us to create our own templates independently, at any given time, which is a big advantage”

“One of Data+ biggest advantages is flexibility and simplicity. It doesn’t have hard-set limitations. I can perform any action without too much effort”