How Will Current EHR Adoption, Use Affect Future Research?

Kyle Murphy | EHR Intelligence | November 25, 2013

Research from the United Kingdom provides a glimpse into the challenges following the widespread adoption of EHR systems and capturing of patient data electronically. “The present use of EHR databases requires programing expertise and understanding of the nuances of the coding systems. Queries may take hours or even days to run, and once obtained the only way most researchers can view the results is to scroll through hundreds of records in tabular form,” the authors write.

The research team of Tate et al. developed an online user-focused system called TrialViz to improve the searchability of patient data stored in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) database, which includes anonymized primary care patient records for 5.5 million registered patients. In particular, the researchers identified four key challenges.

The first challenge was the difficulty surrounding the ability to abstract meaningful data from the massive amount of data stored in the CPRD database. “One of the main challenges of working with UK GP data is the number and complexity of the queries that need to be carried out in order to sift out relevant information from the mass of (mainly irrelevant) data,” note Tate et al. “There may be thousands of records for each patient, and there may be numerous codes for each disease or type of symptom representing essentially the same thing.”