Leveraging electronic health records for clinical research.
Electronic health records (EHRs) can be a major tool in the quest to decrease costs and timelines of clinical trial research, generate better evidence for clinical decision making, and advance health care. Over the past decade, EHRs have increasingly offered opportunities to speed up, streamline, and enhance clinical research. EHRs offer a wide range of possible uses in clinical trials, including assisting with prestudy feasibility assessment, patient recruitment, and data capture in care delivery. To fully appreciate these opportunities, health care stakeholders must come together to face critical challenges in leveraging EHR data, including data quality/completeness, information security, stakeholder engagement, and increasing the scale of research infrastructure and related governance. Leaders from academia, government, industry, and professional societies representing patient, provider, researcher, industry, and regulator perspectives convened the Leveraging EHR for Clinical Research Now! Think Tank in Washington, DC (February 18-19, 2016), to identify barriers to using EHRs in clinical research and to generate potential solutions. Think tank members identified a broad range of issues surrounding the use of EHRs in research and proposed a variety of solutions. Recognizing the challenges, the participants identified the urgent need to look more deeply at previous efforts to use these data, share lessons learned, and develop a multidisciplinary agenda for best practices for using EHRs in clinical research. We report the proceedings from this think tank meeting in the following paper.