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AAMC Comments on NIH Policies on Research and Administrative Data

March 16, 2012—In a March 12 comment letter, the AAMC responded to a request for information from the Advisory Committee to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Working Group on Data and Informatics on policies regarding the management, integration, and analysis of research and administrative data. Stating that “data without structure, tools, and quality has limited value,” the AAMC’s comments focus on workforce development, fostering community-led standards and methodologies, and the increasing importance of patient-centered health outcomes data.

In the letter, AAMC stresses that the most pressing issue facing academic medical centers on this matter is the need for a skilled workforce to manage and analyze the surging volume and complexity of biomedical datasets. Because of this growth and the resulting increase in data research analysis demand, the AAMC recommends that NIH help increase awareness for the need to ensure and incentivize the development of programs that quickly would implement the training of an informatics and large dataset analysis workforce.

Secondly, the AAMC recommends NIH foster data standards and methodologies with the support of the research community so datasets will be “well organized, protected, accessible and reusable to enable research and allow for future interoperability.” The AAMC commended NIH for past successes in developing and supporting community-backed standards in fields such as genomics, proteomics, and publications.

In addition, the AAMC reiterates support for new federal research initiatives that focus on improving the quality and effectiveness of health care, and seek to ensure that clinical findings are implemented within medical practice in a timely way. The AAMC applauds NIH for seeking community input on the vital role of data in improving the quality, reliability, and effectiveness of health care delivery.

The AAMC comment letter was developed with input from members of the Group on Information Resources (GIR); Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) Group; and the Group on Research Advancement and Development (GRAND). Also reflected in the letter were thoughts and concerns that emerged from a recent summit hosted by AAMC in partnership with the National Library of Medicine on the “Digital Research Enterprise.”


Ethan Kendrick
Senior Program Specialist, Health Care Affairs
Telephone: 202-741-5461


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