Priorities to Overcome Barriers Impacting Data Science Application in Emergency Care Research.


For a variety of reasons including cheap computing, widespread adoption of electronic medical records, digitalization of imaging and biosignals, and rapid development of novel technologies, the amount of health care data being collected, recorded, and stored is increasing at an exponential rate. Yet despite these advances, methods for the valid, efficient, and ethical utilization of these data remain underdeveloped. Emergency care research, in particular, poses several unique challenges in this rapidly evolving field. A group of content experts was recently convened to identify research priorities related to barriers to the application of data science to emergency care research. These recommendations included: 1) developing methods for cross-platform identification and linkage of patients; 2) creating central, deidentified, open-access databases; 3) improving methodologies for visualization and analysis of intensively sampled data; 4) developing methods to identify and standardize electronic medical record data quality; 5) improving and utilizing natural language processing; 6) developing and utilizing syndrome or complaint-based based taxonomies of disease; 7) developing practical and ethical framework to leverage electronic systems for controlled trials; 8) exploring technologies to help enable clinical trials in the emergency setting; and 9) training emergency care clinicians in data science and data scientists in emergency care medicine. The background, rationale, and conclusions of these recommendations are included in the present article.





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Publication Info

Puskarich, Michael A, Clif Callaway, Robert Silbergleit, Jesse M Pines, Ziad Obermeyer, David W Wright, Renee Y Hsia, Manish N Shah, et al. (2019). Priorities to Overcome Barriers Impacting Data Science Application in Emergency Care Research. Academic emergency medicine : official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, 26(1). pp. 97–105. 10.1111/acem.13520 Retrieved from

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Alexander Tan Limkakeng

Professor of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Alexander T. Limkakeng, Jr., MD, MHSc, FACEP is a Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Director of the Acute Care Research Team, and Director of the Resident Research Fellowship for the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Limkakeng has served as chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Research Committee, and been the Course Director of the ACEP Research Forum from 2016-2018, the largest emergency medical research platform in the nation. He is also the Assistant Director of ACEP’s Emergency Medicine Basic Research Skills course. He was elected to the Nominating Committee of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine.

As a researcher, Dr. Limkakeng has led multiple clinical trials and interdepartmental sponsored projects and is author on over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts. These include studies in emergency conditions such as COVID-19, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, heart failure, thrombosis, stroke, envenomations, and septic shock. His research has been funded by grants and contracts totaling over $9 million dollars. He has lectured internationally on acute coronary syndrome, responsible conduct of research, design of clinical trials, and precision medicine in emergency care. He has led Duke’s involvement in NIH-funded research networks and in industry-funded work that led to FDA approval for multiple high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays and point-of-care COVID-19 diagnostic tests. He has servesd as Co-PI for the Duke U24 Hub in the NIH Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) (1U24NS114416) and now serves as a co-PI on the Duke U24 Hub award (1U24NS129498) in the NIH Strategies to Innovate Emergency Care Clinical Trials (SIREN) Network and in the NIH NINDS Strokenet network (1U24NS135250)

His personal research interest is finding new ways to diagnose acute coronary syndrome. In particular, he is interested in novel biomarkers and precision medicine approaches to this problem. The common element throughout this work is a focus on time-sensitive health conditions.

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