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Usability and Suitability of the Omics-Integrating Analysis Platform tranSMART for Translational Research and Education

Journal: Applied Clinical Informatics
ISSN: 1869-0327
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4338/ACI-2017-05-RA-0085
Issue: Vol. 8: Issue 4 2017
Pages: 1173-1183

Usability and Suitability of the Omics-Integrating Analysis Platform tranSMART for Translational Research and Education

Online Supplementary Material

J. Christoph (1 ), C. Knell (1),  A. Bosserhoff (2),  E. Naschberger (3), M. Stürzl (3), M. Rübner (4), H. Seuss (5),  M. Ruh (6), H.-U. Prokosch (1),  B. Sedlmayr (1)

1  Department of Medical Informatics, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany; 2 Institute of Biochemistry (Emil-Fischer-Center), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany; 3 Division of Molecular and Experimental Surgery, Department of Surgery, Translational Research Center Erlangen, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany; 4 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Comprehensive Cancer
Center Erlangen-EMN, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany; 5 Department of Radiology, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany; 6 Department of Experimental Medicine 1, Nikolaus-Fiebiger-Center for Molecular Medicine, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany

Keywords

Education, medical education, Translational research, biomedical research, Adoption, surveys and questionnaires, computer systems evaluation

Summary

Background Platforms like tranSMART assist researchers in analyzing clinical and corresponding omics data. Usability is an important, yet often overlooked, factor affecting the adoption and meaningful use. Analyses on the specific needs of transla-tional researchers and considerations about the application of such platforms for education are rare.

Objectives The aim of this study was to test whether tranSMART can be used in education and how well medical students and professional researchers can handle it; to identify which kind of translational researchers—in terms of skills, experienced limita-tions, and available data—can take advantage of tranSMART; and to evaluate the usability and to generate recommendations for improvements.

Methods An online-based test has been done by medical students (N = 109) and researchers (N = 26). The test comprised 13 tasks in the context of four typical research scenarios based on experimental and clinical data. A web questionnaire was provided to identify both the needs and the conditions of research as well as to evaluate the system’s usability based on the “System Usability Scale” (SUS).

Results Students and researchers were able to handle tranSMART well and coped with most scenarios: cohort identification, data exploration, hypothesis generation,and hypothesis validation were answered with a rate of correctness between 82 and 100%. Of the total, 72.2% of the teaching researchers considered tranSMART suitable for their lessons and 84.6% of the researchers considered the platform useful for their daily work; 65.4% of the researchers named the nonavailability of a platform like tranSMART as a restriction on their research. The usability was rated “acceptable” with a SUS of 70.8.

Conclusion tranSMART is potentially suitable for education purposes and fits most of the needs of translational researchers. Improvements are needed on the presentation of analysis results and on the guidance of users through the analysis, especially to ensure the compliance of the analysis with the requirements of statistical testing.

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