Using free and open-source tools to globally crowd-source surgical outcomes data



Riinu Ots


Data Manager - Medical Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: The talk will walk everyone through the set-up and database architecture of the world’s largest crowd-sourced study for outcomes after cancer surgery: GlobalSurg 3.

GlobalSurg is a collaboration of over 5000 clinicians in 100 countries working to address the unmet need for research in global surgery. GlobalSurg has established a secure, worldwide data collection platform and completed two prospective international cohort studies (27,000 patients to date). The data is crowd-sourced professionally whereby surgeons, medical students or researchers from any hospital anywhere in the world can register to take part. Taking part is voluntary, with the only ‘payment’ becoming a named co-author on the research papers published from these data. One of our latest papers had 1816 named co-authors.

Everything in the project and database set-up is done using free or open source tools, and this talk will describe the underlying SQL tables, dynamic pulls, CRON jobs, web interface (REDCap software), and various dashboards for administrators as well as collaborators (R-Shiny).

Bio: From computational physics to medical informatics, Riinu is a PhD data scientist with an interdisciplinary background. As a Data Manager in the Surgical Informatics research group (Edinburgh University), her main duties include database architecture and interactive dashboards for the GlobalSurg projects, as well as teaching statistics on surgical postgraduate Masters programmes. She developed and runs the popular HealthyR: R for healthcare data analysis course.

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