A recent study that used electronic health records to analyze data on nearly one million patients demonstrates how health IT can help advance clinical research, InformationWeek reports.
Researchers at MetroHealth Medical Center and Explorys conducted the study -- which was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association -- to determine the effects of height and weight on blood clots in the lung or leg.
For the study, researchers used an Explorys tool that standardizes and de-identifies data to analyze the clinical records of 959,030 patients from multiple health care organizations with different EHR systems.
Five part-time researchers were able to conduct the study in 11 weeks, with no direct costs.
The study noted, "With the right clinical research informatics tools and EHR data, some types of very large cohort studies can be completed with minimal resources."
David Kaelber -- chief medical informatics officer at MetroHealth and lead study author -- said the study marks a "paradigm shift that can now occur for certain types of clinical research because we have all of this electronic data and we are starting to develop the tools to aggregate and analyze the data."
He added, "This is a one-million-patient study -- just imagine the resources that would be needed if we were going to try to recruit one million patients to a study and follow them for 13 years" (Lewis, InformationWeek, 8/31).