Patient Database Could Help Determine Health Effects of Fracking


Geisinger Health System, a Pennsylvania-based not-for-profit hospital system, plans to use its patient record database to evaluate whether the fracking process -- extracting natural gas from shale rock -- is having an adverse effect on residents' health, Bloomberg reports.

David Carey, director of Geisinger's Weis Center for Research, said the hospital system recently started assessing hundreds of thousands of medical records.

He added that Geisinger is seeking funding from foundations, the government and the natural gas industry to expand the project.

Carey said, "There's all these concerns about what the health risks are, but we're really limited to anecdotal data." He added that Geisinger's patient database could contribute "real hard, rigorous scientific data" to the debate over the health effects of fracking (Wayne, Bloomberg, 5/1).

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