Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yet Again We Find Truth Getting In the Way Of A Good Story. E-Health Is A Lot Harder Than It Seems.

The following appeared a few days ago.

Study: EHR data for research often incomplete, inaccurate, unreliable

September 10, 2012 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Current methodologies for using electronic health records for research are inadequate and result in "significant bias" when used "naively," according to an article in the Journal of the Medical Informatics Association.
At present, EHR research involves an approach that first involves phenotyping/feature extraction, which transforms raw EHR data into clinical relevant features. Those feature are used for research tasks. According to the article's authors, however, EHR data currently is incomplete, inaccurate, variable, and highly complex, rendering such research unreliable.
The authors, from Columbia University, suggest that the research process be improved, particularly by improving the current phenotyping process to make it more accurate and data driven. They recommend that researchers take a "radical shift in approach" and study EHRs themselves, not just the data, to see how EHRs are used and how data is recorded.     
"We must mine the EHR data to learn the idiosyncrasies of the healthcare process and their effects on the recording process," the authors state.
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More here:
You can go directly to the abstract from this link:
JAMIA article's abstract
The full text will be available in a few months for free from Pub Med.
What is being said is, however, pretty clear. We have a lot to learn about how information is held in EHRs - let alone secondary systems like the NEHRS - before we can make any trustworthy use of the information.
Since they have not done the research NEHTA, DoHA and all have no idea if what they have done will be any use for all those research uses.
David.

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