In a previous blog entry we discussed the use of personas in developing an effective user experience. One persona we introduced was the biomedical researcher. This is obviously a very broad category, so let’s break it down a little bit.
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Previously, we discussed the mandate for using data standards in biobanking. Here we will show how biomedical controlled vocabularies, a kind of consensus data standard, are used to improve data quality and interoperability. Data interoperability standards, eg HL7 and the the ISO 11179 Common Data Element (CDE) standard make use of controlled vocabularies.
Even in a digital world, the term "Above the fold" still matters. "The fold" is a term that comes to us from the newspaper industry and simply refers to news items on the front page of a folded newspaper that the editor thinks will engage readers. Why does such an anachronistic term matter?
A Biobank refers to any organized collection of biological material that once was either part of a living organism or produced by it. While this blog post focuses on the human biospecimen repositories, the fundamental principles discussed are relevant for many if not most other biobank types. Furthermore the terms specimen, biospecimen and sample are used interchangeably.
Biomedical research is dealing with more and more data. A lot of this data is complex, and can come from multiples sources. Part of this problem can be addressed by applying computational and statistical methods to tease out the meaning from large datasets. But what if you don’t even know what to tease out? Many projects require exploratory work before more focused analytical work can done.
Many institutions have biorepositories spread throughout multiple research centers or medical facilities. They are often found using differing solutions within each lab such as excel, homegrown databases or LIMS tools. Given the differing data elements and formats, data may be exchanged through email, thumb drives, or pushed to a folder on a local server.
This week we’re going to introduce the first post of a series on driving user experience (UX) design in the life sciences and healthcare based on the crucial element of persona. A persona is a stand-in for a real user - it’s a detailed description of an archetypal user, attempting to capture a bit more about them than just their job role - to understand a bit about their motivations, cultural filters, likes and dislikes, etc. Personae allow us to think like the user and become advocates for their needs. We name our personae and talk about them as if they were real people - because in a sense, they are. We drive the construction of these personae by interviewing real users or surveying the marketplace.
Precision medicine is upon us and it is more than the simple use of information to create drugs and diagnostics that are unique to a single patient. Precision Medicine identifies patients who are more susceptible to certain diseases, who will respond to treatments differently and whose diseases or conditions may progress on a different course than others in the general population.
The Semantic Web provides a means to link information on the web to each other and to things in real life in an interoperable way. Internationalized Resource Identifiers, of which URLs are a type, are used to identify nearly everything, and linked data makes it possible to visit those URLs to get more information about the things they represent. This has some very useful applications, especially in biobanking. Semantics was literally made for biomedical research, and here are four ways in which that relationship can help make biobanks better information resources: