Across all medical specialties, there is a severe lack of high-quality clinical evidence, in part because the gold standard for evidence is large-scale randomized controlled clinical trials. Such trials are on an unsustainable cost trajectory, as they require expensive, stand-alone data capture infrastructures. Furthermore, they typically enroll highly selected populations that are not necessarily representative of real-world patients. Although the emergence of the electronic health record (EHR) holds great promise for generating much-needed evidence, medical research lags far behind other industries in its ability to use big data to get the answers decision makers need in health care. The ability to harness good quality, usable data from EHRs will likely be as revolutionary to health care as the Internet was to other industries.
Read more from Lesley Curtis, PhD, in Health Affairs.