Stanford powers study with EHR data

Researchers at Stanford University's School of Medicine recently tapped the power of electronic health records to conduct research on the differences in how men and women experience pain. The study, recently published in the Journal of Pain, determined that women report more intense pain in virtually every disease category.

But what was particularly noteworthy was the researchers' use of the EHR's data, collected in the course of treatment, to conduct the study, demonstrating the value of data mining the EHR for research purposes. The researchers examined more than 160,000 pain scores for more than 72,000 patients of Stanford's hospital and clinics. By pulling the data from the EHR, the researchers were able to conduct a much larger pain study than previous ones.

"None of these data were initially collected for research, but this study shows that we can use it in that capacity," Atul Butte, Stanford professor of systems medicine in pediatrics and the study's senior author said in an article on Stanford School of Medicine website.

Butte noted that to the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first systematic use of data from EHRs to examine pain on this large a scale, and that using EHRs for research will become "increasingly feasible."

To learn more:
- read the study's abstract 
- check out this article on Stanford's website 
- read this Healthcare Informatics article

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