Objectives: Clinical Research Informatics, an emerging sub-domain of Biomedical Informatics, is currently not well defined. A formal description of CRI including major challenges and opportunities is needed to direct progress in the field. Design: Given the early stage of CRI knowledge and activity, we engaged in a series of qualitative studies with key stakeholders and opinion leaders to determine the range of challenges and opportunities facing CRI. These phases employed complimentary methods to triangulate upon our findings. Measurements: Study phases included: 1) a group interview with key stakeholders, 2) an email follow-up survey with a larger group of self-identified CRI professionals, and 3) validation of our results via electronic peer-debriefing and member-checking with a group of CRI-related opinion leaders. Data were collected, transcribed, and organized for formal, independent content analyses by experienced qualitative investigators, followed by an iterative process to identify emergent categorizations and thematic descriptions of the data. Results: We identified a range of challenges and opportunities facing the CRI domain. These included 13 distinct themes spanning academic, practical, and organizational aspects of CRI. These findings also informed the development of a formal definition of CRI and supported further representations that illustrate areas of emphasis critical to advancing the domain. Conclusions: CRI has emerged as a distinct discipline that faces multiple challenges and opportunities. The findings presented summarize those challenges and opportunities and provide a framework that should help inform next steps to advance this important new discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-327
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


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