About SCANNER

What is SCANNER?


Why is SCANNER needed?


How is SCANNER different?


What research can benefit from SCANNER?


How does SCANNER address security and privacy?


What is SCANNER’s architecture?




What is SCANNER?

Begun in September 2010 and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), SCANNER is a secure, scalable network that facilitates collaborative clinical research among widely dispersed institutions.

 


Why is SCANNER needed?

Traditional approaches to data sharing have at times undermined the ability of researchers and clinicians to access, aggregate, and analyze patient records at the point of care. SCANNER overcomes these obstacles by using a scalable distributed network infrastructure, as well as methodologies, to enable near real-time comparative effectiveness research and prospective analysis of data collected from clinical databases.

 

 

How is SCANNER different?

SCANNER allows institutions and study investigators to control access to data based on a clinic-by-clinic policy model. Policies for data sharing can range from those encoding sharing of identified and de-identified records to sharing of aggregated query results. SCANNER allows flexibility in the types of data models used so that studies can customize data models to their specific requirements. Furthermore, SCANNER provides tools for analytics and secure, scalable identity management. For instance, SCANNER currently extends the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) common data model for a richer model that supports analytics and transformations necessary for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). Read more about SCANNER's method for semantic interoperability.

 


What research can benefit from SCANNER?

Projects that harmonize and retrieve disparate data, analyze diverse patient populations from multiple data sources, and maintain different levels of data access can all benefit from SCANNER. If you would like us to review how SCANNER might be used in your research, please contact us. Two Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) studies are currently being used to demonstrate the usefulness, sustainability, and scalability of the network across multiple organizations, all with different IT systems. 

 

  • Medication Surveillance CER – to monitor the effectiveness of antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications, and to conduct medication safety surveillance using retrospective data from multiple clinical sites.
  • Medication Therapy Management CER – to compare patients treated with standard of care versus patients whose medications are co-managed by pharmacists and physicians, and to design data retrieval tools with privacy and confidentiality safeguards for clinicians and researchers to assess medication therapy management parameters. 

 

 

How does SCANNER address security and privacy?

SCANNER resources are secure because they are protected not by generic access and usage rules provided on a one-size-fits-all basis, but by policies that are defined by the people who manage the data. Researchers who control the data and functions establish the policies governing access to those resources. These resources can include clinical data repositories, databases and applications, or tools that provide analytic or other functions.

 


What is SCANNER’s architecture?

SCANNER is comprised of a set of SSL-encrypted web services that allow a user to perform distributed statistical analysis on data hosted on remote sites.  Multiple statistical analysis methods are supported via a plug-in architecture, and a defined set of input and output formats provide a consistent I/O interface for each computational plug-in.  The network consists of four main service components: the Portal, the Registry, the Master node, and one or more Worker nodes.  In order to submit work to the network, a user first authenticates his or her identity to the Portal, which upon success presents a web-based graphical user interface to the user.  The Portal interface presents a set of selection controls (based on information stored in the Registry) about what datasets, computational algorithms, and remote nodes are available for the user to execute a query against.  Once a user has selected the criterion for a query and initiates the execution of the query, the Portal then sends the query request to the Master node, which simultaneously issues the query to the piece of the computational plug-in residing on each of the remote nodes.  Depending on what analysis algorithm was selected, this query process may be iterated multiple times in order to optimize the statistical result.  Once the distributed query completes, the results are collated by the piece of the computational plug-in that resides on the Master node, and those results are then returned as a single output payload back to the Portal, where it is finally displayed to the user.  Read more about SCANNER's architecture.