Clinical research is on the threshold of a new era in which electronic health records can play a vital role to transform the medical understanding. Although healthcare industry is loaded with a number of EHRs that varies from one another in perspective of their design and features, every EHR contains an enormous amount of healthcare data that can transform the clinical research. If we leverage the data of electronic health records then we can significantly improve the way researchers do research.
Every EHR is designed to offer three benefits;
- Clinical: All the electronic health records are designed to facilitate routine clinical operations and reduce medical errors to enhance patient care.
- Organizational: Financial and performance analysis is the core feature of an EHR that comes under its organizational benefits.
- Societal: Societal outcomes include the better archiving of healthcare data that can help in research to improve the population health.
The last mentioned core benefit of EHR software ensures that electronic health record should be able to compile healthcare data that can be used for research purposes. This is the reason EHRs can be the most powerful tool in the hand of researchers and they can utilize them to analyze previous data and make predictions about the future by relying upon that data to improve the healthcare standards at a mass level. EHRs can facilitate clinical research in a number of ways some of them are given hereunder;
Ways EHRs Can Help in Clinical Research
Epidemiology & Observational Research
EHRs enormous data supports a wide range of epidemiological research and it can be the simplest way to analyze the natural history of diseases and drug utilization so you could answer a variety of questions by correlating this data. In this way, you can efficiently analyze the distribution and determinants of health & disease conditions in a defined population.
Post-marketing investigations are important to monitor the impact of drugs in the society. Electronic health records provide real-world information on the use of drugs that support post-marketing safety investigations.
Improve Patient Safety
Integration of EHR data and clinical trial can significantly improve the health outcomes. For instance, during clinical trials, some patients accidentally forget to report the adverse events. However, if the EHR data is integrated during the clinical trial then the clinical researchers can identify such events by unlocking pharmacy, claims data, and other available information from the EHR. In this way, they can optimize patient safety and identify the outcomes of treatment.
Electronic health records increase the availability of data as it stores the patient information in electronic form which leads to quick quantitative analysis to identify evidence-based best practice opportunities more easily.
Biological Threats Surveillance
Researchers can combine the data from EHRs and other sources including over-the-counter medication purchases and school absenteeism rate to monitor diseases outbreaks and can improve surveillance of potential biological threats.
Electronic health records empower the researchers to abstract the relevant information in a short time to answer the arising questions. But currently, researchers have to face technological and logistical obstacles to develop such system that will be collaborative and transform their clinical research. This is because of limited regulatory guidance and lack of collaboration between different EHR providers. If regulatory bodies take this issue seriously then no doubt EHRs have the potential to transform the clinical research.
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