Geskin A, Legowski E, Chakka A, Chandran UR, Barmada MM, LaFramboise WA, Berg J, Jacobson RS. (2015). Needs Assessment for Research Use of High-Throughput Sequencing at a Large Academic Medical Center. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0131166. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0131166 PMID: 26115441 PMCID: PMC4483235
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods are driving profound changes in biomedical research, with a growing impact on patient care. Many academic medical centers are evaluating potential models to prepare for the rapid increase in NGS information needs. This study sought to investigate (1) how and where sequencing data is generated and analyzed, (2) research objectives and goals for NGS, (3) workforce capacity and unmet needs, (4) storage capacity and unmet needs, (5) available and anticipated funding resources, and (6) future challenges. As a precursor to informed decision making at our institution, we undertook a systematic needs assessment of investigators using survey methods. We recruited 331 investigators from over 60 departments and divisions at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences and had 140 respondents, or a 42% response rate. Results suggest that both sequencing and analysis bottlenecks currently exist. Significant educational needs were identified, including both investigator-focused needs, such as selection of NGS methods suitable for specific research objectives, and program-focused needs, such as support for training an analytic workforce. The absence of centralized infrastructure was identified as an important institutional gap. Key principles for organizations managing this change were formulated based on the survey responses. This needs assessment provides an in-depth case study which may be useful to other academic medical centers as they identify and plan for future needs.