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Clinical data research networks (CDRNs) aggregate electronic health record (EHR) data from multiple hospitals to enable large-scale research. A critical operation toward building a CDRN is conducting continual evaluations to optimize data quality. The key challenges include determining the assessment coverage on big datasets, handling data variability over time, and facilitating communication with data teams. This study presents the evolution of a systematic workflow for data quality assessment in CDRNs.
Using a specific CDRN as a use case, a workflow was iteratively developed and packaged into a toolkit. The resultant toolkit comprises 685 data quality checks to identify any data quality issues, procedures to reconciliate with a history of known issues, and a contemporary GitHub-based reporting mechanism for organized tracking.
During the first two years of network development, the toolkit assisted in discovering over 800 data characteristics and resolving over 1400 programming errors. Longitudinal analysis indicated that the variability in time to resolution (15day mean, 24day IQR) is due to the underlying cause of the issue, perceived importance of the domain, and the complexity of assessment. (Full article...)