A foundational element of all WRI research programs is the collection and analysis of data from multiple sources and in various formats. Data on patient demographics, discrete procedures, surgical complications, risk factors, post-operative tracking and more must be carefully and accurately managed and interconnected in order to create an accurate picture of patient outcomes.
WRI initially tried to use FileMaker Pro, but the data management group quickly found the file size limitations of the product to be a serious drawback. “We needed a tool for which file size would not be an issue,” recalls Data Management Officer Deborah Lennon. “We also needed more flexibility, the ability to customize the tool as required and greater sophistication on the data analysis side. IBM SPSS Statistics satisfied all these criteria very well.”
A deluge of data
The amount of data WRI analyzes using IBM SPSS Statistics is enormous. Says Lennon: “When the data management office was advertised internally as being broadly available to all users, we had quite a deluge of data and information from cardiologists and the cardiac surgery section. It was about four years worth of data – and just for cardiac surgery, that’s something like 500 patients a year with an average of 350 variables for each patient. On the cardiology side, there were preoperative angiograms, stent procedures and a great deal of additional technical detail. Some of the data was in FileMaker Pro, along with boxes of paper that had to be collated and put into databases. That’s when we decided we had to find a flexible tool that could handle everything.”