Informatics Research Seminar: Transforming Health Research Through the Use of a Secure Health Data Cloud

March 14 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm


Speaker: Thomas P. Caruso, PhD, MBA, PMP
Presented from UNC-CH

Broadcast Link: Seminar



Many challenges exist with health information exchange as the result of a legacy of information silos controlled by healthcare organizations. The current health information system interoperability effort promoted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is to develop a standardized electronic health record integrated with a complex federated network, while insisting that all users “speak” the same complicated language (HL7 V3, SNOMED, ICD-10, etc.). In December of 2010 the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology recommended a Universal Exchange Language (UEL) as a novel, more powerful method for health information exchange that could provide a better environment for public health, health services, clinical and biomedical research. In response to this report, a group of individuals with biomedical informatics, medical semantics, and mathematics expertise, who became founders of Quantal Semantics, Inc. prepared a draft open proposal for a QuantalUEL that incorporated graphics, number and probability theory as well as quantum mechanics and could be used to “shred” and “unshred” de-identified health information for storage in and retrieval from a Secure Health Data Cloud. This presentation will discuss the characteristics of this QuantalUEL and an infrastructure for implementing the Secure Health Data Cloud.


Dr. Thomas P. Caruso, who has a joint appointment as health informatics liaison research associate with the School of Information and Library Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill and the Center for the Advancement of Health Informatics at RTI International, has an extensive background in biomedical and health informatics and technology management. Dr. Caruso’s new responsibilities include developing research programs between SILS and RTI International, pursuing collaborative grant and contract opportunities in health informatics and facilitating an internship program for the Carolina Health Informatics Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before assuming this position he built partnerships for government contractors in the Federal health technology sector, founded Quantal Semantics, Inc. to develop a Universal Exchange Language called QuantalUEL and created the Biomedical Informatics Think Tank™ an organization of experts at major academic medical institutions who have been working in the fields of health information management, clinical informatics, public health informatics, clinical research informatics, bioinformatics, data mining, health informatics technology training and high performance computing for the last 30 years. Before starting these activities he worked as contract project manager in the Division of Computational Biosciences, Center for Information Technology at NIH overseeing the work of a team of 13 individuals on biomedical informatics projects. Dr. Caruso also has 8 years of experience participating in various biomedical and health informatics efforts including caBIG® and the Standards & Interoperability Initiative of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, particularly on those projects in the privacy and security arena. Previous to joining SRA, Dr. Caruso had twelve years of experience developing research initiatives involving collaborations with industry and government at Virginia Tech as Director of Research Initiatives, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and Manager of Program Development, Office of the Vice President for Research. In this role he won the first NIH training grants for Virginia Tech. He also built and managed a research project including one that resulted in the development of a prototype animal laboratory information management system, and another involving human subjects to evaluate a training intervention, which required survey design, data gathering, and analysis. Prior to this experience he worked for five years as project leader for a software division of a Fortune 500 company, where I brought project management methodology to three software product lines and managed budgets of $30 M. Dr. Caruso also has experience working as a venture capital consultant.