Rachel Richesson recently lead a networking discussion on “Integrating with National Research Networks and common data model, PCORnet, etc.” at the Nursing Knowledge Big Data Conference at the University of Minnesota. This year was the fourth-annual Big Data Conference that brings nationally-recognized leaders from organizations, health systems, education, and the private sector together to engage in advancing a national action plan to ensure: (a) that nursing data are captured into electronic health records and other information systems, and (b) that data are available in sharable, comparable formats for clinicians, administrators, researchers, policy makers and others to improve health outcomes.
The recent proliferation of electronic health records has great potential to advance nursing science by allowing clinical data to be re-used for research purposes, which is cheaper than de novo and prospective research data collection. Currently, there are a number of national research networks and collaborative efforts that can be leveraged to advance nursing science. These include the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet), funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the NIH Collaboratory Distributed Research Network (DRN), and the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) program, a multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary observational research collaborative. All of these networks use electronic health record (EHR) data from multiple sites to support large scale analytics and observational research. To overcome the lack of standardized data across local EHRs, these networks each have adopted common data models, which provide a standard format to transform data contained within disparate databases and support aggregate analyses. Dr. Richesson provided an update on these networks and lead a discussion with nursing on how to ensure that these data models and research networks can explicitly address nursing research questions and advance nursing science and patient care.