Disease network merging EHR, biomedical data would speed treatment

A new data network should be created to integrate the emerging research on the molecular make up of diseases with the clinical data of patients in electronic health records, the National Research Council determines in a recently published report.

EHRs make it possible to acquire detailed clinical information about a large number of patients, and to search for unexpected correlations within very large data sets, according to NRC. As such, the study authors determine, biomedical research and patient data could be combined into one "knowledge network of disease" to drive the development of a more accurate classification of diseases and enhance diagnosis and treatment, as well as improve biomedical research.

The advent of EHRs is key to the creation of such a network for this new research, the study finds. Current studies of disease in populations are inefficient and don't necessarily apply to broader populations. But by using EHRs, it would be possible to conduct research on disease at the point of care, and along with the routine delivery of care.  

The study's authors were optimistic, calling the building of such a network "a grand challenge." They added that, if successful, the network could "modernize the ways in which biomedical research is conducted as, over time, lead to dramatically improved patient care."    

To learn more:
- read the press release and access a summary of the study
- check out this InformationWeek Healthcare article