172602 Database and Tools for the Investigation of Climate-Mediated Human Disease

Monday, October 27, 2008: 12:30 PM

Jan Ihmels, PhD , University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Mark S. Smith, MD , Department of Emergency Medicine, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC
Sreeman Nanduri, MS , Azyxxi-Health Solutions Group, Microsoft Corporation, Washington, MD
Craig Feied, MD , Azyxxi-Health Solutions Group, Microsoft Corporation, Washington, MD
Jonathan Handler, MD , Azyxxi-Health Solutions Group, Microsoft Corporation, Washington, MD
Andrea Valenta, MSN , Department of Emergency Medicine, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC
Michael Gillam, MD , Azyxxi-Health Solutions Group, Microsoft Corporation, Washington, MD
Dennis Fantin, PhD , Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
The Climate Query database is designed to support research involving the interrelationships between meteorological factors and human disease. This database joins approximately 88 terabytes (last ten years) of deidentified emergency medical department patient records from seven hospitals in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area with meteorological data obtained from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

The database has been instantiated into the Microsoft Azyxxi ™ system at the National Institute for Medical Informatics (NIMI) at MedStar Health in Washington D.C. It will be expanded as more hospitals join the AZYXXI network. The NCDC data is seamlessly integrated with the existing patient records using automated parsing protocols. The ensuing database allows for the investigation of various hypothetical relationships between health-related and climate-related parameters.

A standard statistical toolset is linked to the database and can be utilized to evaluate a large variety of climate and weather-mediated effects. One such tool describes the ability to correlate a continuous numerical variable (such as temperature or barometric pressure) to a categorical set of variables (such as patient diagnosis or chief complaint).

At the core of the system are software modules that perform a variety of data retrieval and processing steps such as the passage of data over web services for analysis in MATLAB or SAS. Processed data from these systems, in XML for example, can then be presented to the end user, making it possible to generalize existing studies that were previously limited to a specific health condition, patient group and/or meteorological parameter. Such generalized studies will greatly facilitate the search for novel relationships between climate, weather and human disease. Furthermore, any existing analysis can be effortlessly re-evaluated as more data is added to the database, resulting in ‘dynamic' studies that reflect the most current and comprehensive data available at a given time.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the use of informatics to develop a database to support research and decision-making related to human disease that is caused, triggered, modified, or predicted by changes in climatologic conditions.

Keywords: Health Information Systems, Climate

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My doctorate work in computational genomics centered on the statistical and computational analysis of large biomedical datasets. Combined with my background in programming and database techniques, this puts me in a good position for the project described.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.