Research Paper Receives International Recognition

By Alan Van Ormer

A 10-page research paper turned out to be a winner for a research assistant and two professors at Dakota State University.

Dr. Omar El-Gayar, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Dr. Surendra Sarnikar, assistant professor of Information Systems, and Matt Wills, doctoral graduate research assistant, submitted a paper entitled ‘A Cyberinfrastructure Framework for Comparative Effectiveness Research in Healthcare’ that received an award at the 43rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. The paper received the best paper award for the health care information technology (IT) track.

“Our paper was originally accepted with no comment or as is, which is very good given the rigor of the peer-review process for the conference,” said Dr. El-Gayar. “When we found out later that our paper was nominated for best paper and ultimately selected, we were ecstatic. We didn’t expect it because it is a very competitive process.”

Wills, who has a master’s degree in information systems, and is currently finishing his doctorate of information systems specializing in healthcare systems, said the award “speaks volumes for the kind of work that we are doing here. DSU has become a regional leader in health information technology.”

Dr. El-Gayar and Dr. Sarnikar had been looking at possible grant opportunities in the area of application of information technology and healthcare and came across comparative effectiveness research, which was considered an item of high priority at the national level. The trio did the research, wrote the paper and submitted it for publication in the conference proceedings and presentation at the conference. Dr. El-Gayar presented the findings at the conference in early January, and learned then of the nomination for best paper.

The paper discusses the main methods of comparative effectiveness research (CER), including systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials and others. The paper also talked about the types of cyber infrastructure components that will support these methods of research as well as the dissemination of research results.

Comparative effectiveness research looks at the effectiveness of drugs, treatments, procedures, and compares them to each other. “For example,” Wills said, “if a person goes to the doctor and is diagnosed with a disease which requires treatment, your doctor will be able to look at the different treatments, and decide which one is best based on how it compares with other treatments.”

“In that way, the doctor can choose what is best for you based on the research. It's scary to think, but doctors do not necessarily have access to this information,” he added. “Our system will help researchers conduct this research, thus enabling your doctor to have access to this important information. Wouldn't it be nice to know that the treatment you are receiving is the one that studies show is most effective for treating your condition? No more guessing games regarding treatments...from now on only the most effective treatments are used. This could save lives, and reduce the overall cost of healthcare.”

Last Updated: 1/12/12