Clinical research informatics (CRI) is a rapidly evolving sub-discipline within biomedical informatics. It focuses on developing new informatics theories, tools, and solutions to accelerate the full translational continuum: basic research, clinical trials, and medical centers and community practice. Two recent factors accelerating CRI research and development efforts are the extensive and diverse informatics needs of the NIH Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards and the growing interest in sustainable, large-scale, multi-institutional distributed research networks for comparative effectiveness research.
Given the broad landscape that comprises translational science, CRI scientists conceive of innovative solutions that span biological, clinical, and population-based research. The field has simultaneously borrowed from and contributed to many related informatics disciplines. CRI integrates clinical and translational research workflows in addition to core informatics methodologies and principles into a framework that reflects the unique informatics needs of translational investigators. The conceptual framework for CRI is organized around three conceptual components: workflows; data sources and platforms; and informatics core methods and topics.