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Penn study shows how electronic medical records can be used to test drug efficacy
Date:2/6/2009

amounts of information within electronic medical records can be used to expand evidence of how we should or shouldn't manage healthcare," Tannen says.

To address criticisms of observational studies, Tannen's group had to first determine a way to use EMR databases for insights on therapy efficacy and then prove the results they found were valid.

Beginning six years ago, Tannen's team selected six previously performed randomized trials with 17 measured outcomes and compared them to study data from an electronic database -- the UK general practice research database (GPRD), which included the medical records of roughly 8 million patients. Treatment efficacy was determined by the prevalence of cardiovascular outcomes, such as stroke, heart attack and death.

After using standard biostatistical methods to adjust for differences in the treated and untreated groups in the analysis of the database information, Tannen found that there were no differences in the database outcomes compared to randomized clinical trials in nine out of 17 outcomes.

In the other eight outcomes, Tannen's group used an additional new biostatistical approach they discovered that controlled for differences between the treated and untreated groups prior to the time the study began. By using the new biostatistical method instead of the standard approach, the researchers showed there were no differences between the outcomes in the EMR database study compared to the randomized clinical trials.

Though Tannen warns the ability to use EMR databases from the United States to measure the efficacy of therapies will take more than 10 years of national data, he says the results of his study should serve as a catalyst for more researchers to explore the accuracy of the information that can be obtained using EMR database studies.

"An appropriately configured EMR database could offer an invaluable tool, but we need to get to work now on how to configure it prop
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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