Collaborative for Intelligent Health Information Systems Initiative (CIHISI)


A research center that supports an interdisciplinary team of UWM scientists dedicated to creating new knowledge and health information technology (HIT) solutions that improve the access, quality, and costs of healthcare and support the ability of targeted populations to stay well. This team of researchers and graduate students is well funded with adequate space and resources to conduct their studies. Collectively, they have both HIT and clinical domain expertise. This team has partnerships with healthcare organizations, corporate HIT entities and community organizations that are sufficiently mature to facilitate testing new HIT solutions “real time” in practice environments and the translation of discovery into practice efficiently The team is internationally recognized and serves as a magnet for exceptional faculty and graduate students to UWM and holds the reputational credentials to make an impact on health policy. The team will have commercialization supports necessary to convert IP into products and services that accrue a significant revenue stream to UWM and have a positive impact on the regional economy.

Project Objectives/Goals

The objectives and goals of this project are to extend the efforts of the Knowledge-Based Nursing Initiative (KBNI) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by building a knowledge retrieval and storage system that provides clinical evidence in a format usable by nurses through linking the language of research to the language of nursing practice.

  1. Exploring semantic relationships in the evidence also will generate new nursing knowledge that will have a positive impact on the safety of patients and the quality of health care delivery.
  2. Learning opportunities will be provided for a diverse pool of students from several disciplines and at all levels in order to inculcate the next generation of scientists and practitioners with the vision and skills to implement and maintain interdisciplinary and multi-sector translational research.
  3. Finally, by creating a collaborative interdisciplinary environment within academia and across the healthcare delivery, HIT corporate and academic sectors, the rapid translation of health discoveries into the practice environment to improve quality and safety of patient care will be facilitated.

Three innovations are identified in this proposal:

  • Establishment of the Milwaukee HIT Innovations Research Cluster – a diverse, interdisciplinary, multi-sector group of scientists, future scientists, health care providers and HIT developers. committed to innovative, nontraditional approaches to the problems of health care quality.
  • Development of appropriate HIT solutions for nursing – a critical unmet need in healthcare.
  • Optimization of the potential for rapid translation of new discoveries from bench to bedside through a academic-community partnership for commercialization.

The translation problem for nursing is difficult since the practice of nursing requires considerable reliable information from multiple domains of research and practice. Translating research evidence to nursing practice will require accessing the information from multiple related domains including nursing, health services research, psychology, sociology, medicine, public health, and others. Indeed, such an interdisciplinary emphasis is necessary if we are to foster patient centric care and patient centric information systems.

A significant innovation of this project is to address this need to apply research evidence from multiple domains to nursing practice, and indeed to link the language of research from multiple domains to the language of nursing practice. This will be accomplished through the efforts of a strong inter-disciplinary team of nursing, computer science, informatics, and management researchers and with multi-sector partners. The methods developed in this project may further be tested and applied to other areas of health care practice, particularly where there is a need for application of evidence from multiple domains, such as the practice of public health related to zoonotic diseases.

Broader Impact of the Proposed Activity

There has been increasing regulatory and scientific attention to patient safety and quality in health care. There is the expectation that computer-aided clinical decision support will contribute to quality improvement and the reduction of medical errors. This project has the potential for having an impact on healthcare, as it will give health practitioners efficient access to current best-practices in nursing and the evidence that supports those practices. More specifically, underrepresented groups will benefit from changes to health practice engendered by this project, as the Knowledge Repository includes information about the gender and ethnicity of those who participated in the studies included. This will allow searches of the repository to identify the most relevant evidence for best-practices (or the lack of such evidence) for select under-represented groups.