Using Electronically Available Inpatient Hospital Data for Research

Mandar Apte, Matthew Neidell, E. Yoko Furuya, David Caplan, Sherry Glied, and Elaine Larson
Clinical and Translational Science, 2011. Volume 4 / Issue 05 / October 2011, pp 338-345, Published online

Despite a push to create electronic health records and a plethora of healthcare data from disparate sources, there are no data from a single electronic source that provide a full picture of a patient’s hospital course. This paper describes a process to utilize electronically available inpatient hospital data for research. We linked several different sources of extracted data, including clinical, procedural, administrative, and accounting data, using patients’ medical record numbers to compile a cohesive, comprehensive account of patient encounters. Challenges encountered included (1) interacting with distinct administrative units to locate data elements; (2) finding a secure, central location to house the data; (3) appropriately defining health measures of interest; (4) obtaining and linking these data to create a usable format for conducting research; and (5) dealing with missing data. Although the resulting data set is incredibly rich and likely to prove useful for a wide range of clinical and comparative effectiveness research questions, there are multiple challenges associated with linking hospital data to improve the quality of patient care. Clin Trans Sci 2011; Volume 4: 338–345

Wagner Faculty