Clinical Research Informatics: Contributions from 2018
16 August 2019 (online)
Objectives: To summarize key contributions to current research in the field of Clinical Research Informatics (CRI) and to select best papers published in 2018.
Method: A bibliographic search using a combination of MeSH descriptors and free-text terms on CRI was performed using PubMed, followed by a double-blind review in order to select a list of candidate best papers to be then peer-reviewed by external reviewers. After peer-review ranking, a consensus meeting of the editorial team was organized to conclude on the selection of best papers.
Results: Among the 1,469 retrieved papers published in 2018 in the various areas of CRI, the full review process selected four best papers. The first best paper describes a simple algorithm detecting co-morbidities in Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) using a clinical data warehouse and a knowledge base. The authors of the second best paper present a federated algorithm for predicting heart failure hospital admissions based on patients' medical history described in their distributed EHRs. The third best paper reports the evaluation of an open source, interoperable, and scalable data quality assessment tool measuring completeness of data items, which can be run on different architectures (EHRs and Clinical Data Warehouses (CDWs) based on PCORnet or OMOP data models). The fourth best paper reports a data quality program conducted across 37 hospitals addressing data quality Issues through the whole data life cycle from patient to researcher.
Conclusions: Research efforts in the CRI field currently focus on consolidating promises of early Distributed Research Networks aimed at maximizing the potential of large-scale, harmonized data from diverse, quickly developing digital sources. Data quality assessment methods and tools as well as privacy-enhancing techniques are major concerns. It is also notable that, following examples in the US and Asia, ambitious regional or national plans in Europe are launched that aim at developing big data and new artificial intelligence technologies to contribute to the understanding of health and diseases in whole populations and whole health systems, and returning actionable feedback loops to improve existing models of research and care. The use of “real-world" data is continuously increasing but the ultimate role of this data in clinical research remains to be determined.
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