A software grant from SAS to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) for data warehousing also is yielding valuable patient care benefits, the university reports.

The SAS-UNC collaboration is part of a five-year, $600,000 grant from SAS to develop an electronic AIDS research database and data warehouse. The project, which recently became operational, also is a boon to individual university AIDS patients whose care has improved as a result of the more accessible and accurate clinical and demographic information, UNC says.

“Our collaboration with SAS initially arose from a strong need to get clinical and research data about our HIV patients into an organized form,” Joseph J. Eron, clinical core director of the center and associate professor at UNC’s School of Medicine, said in a statement. “With help and expertise from SAS, we developed an incredibly powerful tool for doing both clinical and translational research, moving clinicians and basic scientists closer together.”

Through the online database, doctors at UNC’s HIV clinic receive reminders on basic health maintenance issues that help update their patients’ immunizations, such as vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, pneumonia and influenza and any tests that need to be ordered. Another database feature is a graphic printout of patients’ immune cell count and viral load. These graphs help demonstrate the impact medication is having on the patient’s health.

“This project is an example of the tremendous possibilities that result from combining powerful analytic software with dedicated, innovative research professionals,” Jim Goodnight, president and chief executive officer of SAS, said in a statement. “Turning data into knowledge is what SAS does best; working with UNC CFAR to use that knowledge to improve people’s lives is a cause we are honored to be a part of.”

UNC: www.unc.edu

SAS: www.sas.com