Use of electronic medical records in oncology outcomes research
Gena Kanas1, Libby Morimoto1, Fionna Mowat1, Cynthia O’Malley2, Jon Fryzek3, Robert Nordyke2
1Exponent, Inc., Menlo Park, CA, USA; 2Amgen, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; 3MedImmune, Gaithersburg, MD, USA
Abstract: Oncology outcomes research could benefit from the use of an oncology-specific electronic medical record (EMR) network. The benefits and challenges of using EMR in general health research have been investigated; however, the utility of EMR for oncology outcomes research has not been explored. Compared to current available oncology databases and registries, an oncology-specific EMR could provide comprehensive and accurate information on clinical diagnoses, personal and medical histories, planned and actual treatment regimens, and post-treatment outcomes, to address research questions from patients, policy makers, the pharmaceutical industry, and clinicians/researchers. Specific challenges related to structural (eg, interoperability, data format/entry), clinical (eg, maintenance and continuity of records, variety of coding schemes), and research-related (eg, missing data, generalizability, privacy) issues must be addressed when building an oncology-specific EMR system. Researchers should engage with medical professional groups to guide development of EMR systems that would ultimately help improve the quality of cancer care through oncology outcomes research.
Keywords: medical informatics, health care, policy, outcomes
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