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J Med Internet Res ; 23(3): e22219, 2021 03 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1088863


Coincident with the tsunami of COVID-19-related publications, there has been a surge of studies using real-world data, including those obtained from the electronic health record (EHR). Unfortunately, several of these high-profile publications were retracted because of concerns regarding the soundness and quality of the studies and the EHR data they purported to analyze. These retractions highlight that although a small community of EHR informatics experts can readily identify strengths and flaws in EHR-derived studies, many medical editorial teams and otherwise sophisticated medical readers lack the framework to fully critically appraise these studies. In addition, conventional statistical analyses cannot overcome the need for an understanding of the opportunities and limitations of EHR-derived studies. We distill here from the broader informatics literature six key considerations that are crucial for appraising studies utilizing EHR data: data completeness, data collection and handling (eg, transformation), data type (ie, codified, textual), robustness of methods against EHR variability (within and across institutions, countries, and time), transparency of data and analytic code, and the multidisciplinary approach. These considerations will inform researchers, clinicians, and other stakeholders as to the recommended best practices in reviewing manuscripts, grants, and other outputs from EHR-data derived studies, and thereby promote and foster rigor, quality, and reliability of this rapidly growing field.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Data Collection/methods , Electronic Health Records , Data Collection/standards , Humans , Peer Review, Research/standards , Publishing/standards , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
NPJ Digit Med ; 3: 109, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-728999


We leveraged the largely untapped resource of electronic health record data to address critical clinical and epidemiological questions about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). To do this, we formed an international consortium (4CE) of 96 hospitals across five countries ( Contributors utilized the Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) or Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) platforms to map to a common data model. The group focused on temporal changes in key laboratory test values. Harmonized data were analyzed locally and converted to a shared aggregate form for rapid analysis and visualization of regional differences and global commonalities. Data covered 27,584 COVID-19 cases with 187,802 laboratory tests. Case counts and laboratory trajectories were concordant with existing literature. Laboratory tests at the time of diagnosis showed hospital-level differences equivalent to country-level variation across the consortium partners. Despite the limitations of decentralized data generation, we established a framework to capture the trajectory of COVID-19 disease in patients and their response to interventions.

J Am Med Inform Assoc ; 28(3): 427-443, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-719257


OBJECTIVE: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses societal challenges that require expeditious data and knowledge sharing. Though organizational clinical data are abundant, these are largely inaccessible to outside researchers. Statistical, machine learning, and causal analyses are most successful with large-scale data beyond what is available in any given organization. Here, we introduce the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), an open science community focused on analyzing patient-level data from many centers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Clinical and Translational Science Award Program and scientific community created N3C to overcome technical, regulatory, policy, and governance barriers to sharing and harmonizing individual-level clinical data. We developed solutions to extract, aggregate, and harmonize data across organizations and data models, and created a secure data enclave to enable efficient, transparent, and reproducible collaborative analytics. RESULTS: Organized in inclusive workstreams, we created legal agreements and governance for organizations and researchers; data extraction scripts to identify and ingest positive, negative, and possible COVID-19 cases; a data quality assurance and harmonization pipeline to create a single harmonized dataset; population of the secure data enclave with data, machine learning, and statistical analytics tools; dissemination mechanisms; and a synthetic data pilot to democratize data access. CONCLUSIONS: The N3C has demonstrated that a multisite collaborative learning health network can overcome barriers to rapidly build a scalable infrastructure incorporating multiorganizational clinical data for COVID-19 analytics. We expect this effort to save lives by enabling rapid collaboration among clinicians, researchers, and data scientists to identify treatments and specialized care and thereby reduce the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Data Science/organization & administration , Information Dissemination , Intersectoral Collaboration , Computer Security , Data Analysis , Ethics Committees, Research , Government Regulation , Humans , National Institutes of Health (U.S.) , United States