Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
James C. McClay
Replication of clinical research is requisite for forming effective clinical decisions and guidelines. While rerunning a clinical trial may be unethical and prohibitively expensive, the adoption of EHRs and the infrastructure for distributed research networks provide access to clinical data for observational and retrospective studies. Herein I demonstrate a means of using these tools to validate existing results and extend the findings to novel populations. I describe the process of evaluating published risk models as well as local data and infrastructure to assess the replicability of the study. I use an example of a risk model unable to be replicated as well as a study of in-hospital mortality risk I replicated using UNMC’s clinical research data warehouse.
In these examples and other studies we have participated in, some elements are commonly missing or under-developed. One such missing element is a consistent and computable phenotype for pregnancy status based on data recorded in the EHR. I survey local clinical data and identify a number of variables correlated with pregnancy as well as demonstrate the data required to identify the temporal bounds of a pregnancy episode. Next, another common obstacle to replicating risk models is the necessity of linking to alternative data sources while maintaining data in a de-identified database. I demonstrate a pipeline for linking clinical data to socioeconomic variables and indices obtained from the American Community Survey (ACS). While these data are location-based, I provide a method for storing them in a HIPAA compliant fashion so as not to identify a patient’s location.
While full and efficient replication of all clinical studies is still a future goal, the demonstration of replication as well as beginning the development of a computable phenotype for pregnancy and the incorporation of location based data in a de-identified data warehouse demonstrate how the EHR data and a research infrastructure may be used to facilitate this effort.
Gardner, Bret, "An Evaluation of the Use of a Clinical Research Data Warehouse and I2b2 Infrastructure to Facilitate Replication of Research" (2018). Theses & Dissertations. 302.