Systems Thinking and the Development of a Large-Scale, Secure Network for Comparative Effectiveness Healthcare Research


MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Serieshartzband

David Hartzband, D.Sc.
Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division

Date: May 9, 2011

About the Presentation

SCANNER (SCAlable Nationwide Network for Effectiveness Research, R01 HS19913-01) is a three-year, $8M grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality made to the Division of Biomedical Informatics at the University of California, San Diego. In this presentation, Dr. Hartzband will describe how the design of the SCANNER network takes advantage of innovative thinking in design and deployment. The network does this by enabling edge nodes that own resources (data &/or function) to specify security and usage policies that are separate from application or database logic and that are resolved by specialized servers distributed on the network. The network also makes use of a syndication model for identity correlation that provides a mechanism for very high probability correlation of a user identity with a set of known attributes. The combination of these mechanisms allows for easy sharing of data, analytic function & results across sites.

Dr. Hartzband will also describe how the network will support a series of observational and interventional comparative effectiveness trials. Initial deployment is now underway at UCSD with trials to start by early summer. He will discuss how the application of systems thinking to the design of the network resulted in approaches that not only allow data and results to be shared, but also allow policies to be developed and shared across institutional sites.

About the Speaker

David Hartzband, D.Sc., Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division, is co-principal investigator, technology, responsible for the design and deployment of the scalable secure network to support comparative effectiveness research at multiple sites within UCSD, as well as sites at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is also part-time director of technology research for the RCHN Community Health Foundation in New York, where he is responsible for developing and delivering a program on technology awareness and adoption for community health centers.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.