Big data from electronic health records for early and late translational cardiovascular research: Challenges and potential

Harry Hemingway*, Folkert W. Asselbergs, John Danesh, Richard Dobson, Nikolaos Maniadakis, Aldo Maggioni, Ghislaine J.M. Van Thiel, Maureen Cronin, Gunnar Brobert, Panos Vardas, Stefan D. Anker, DIederick E. Grobbee, Spiros Denaxas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims Cohorts of millions of people's health records, whole genome sequencing, imaging, sensor, societal and publicly available data present a rapidly expanding digital trace of health. We aimed to critically review, for the first time, the challenges and potential of big data across early and late stages of translational cardiovascular disease research. Methods and results We sought exemplars based on literature reviews and expertise across the BigData@Heart Consortium. We identified formidable challenges including: data quality, knowing what data exist, the legal and ethical framework for their use, data sharing, building and maintaining public trust, developing standards for defining disease, developing tools for scalable, replicable science and equipping the clinical and scientific work force with new inter-disciplinary skills. Opportunities claimed for big health record data include: richer profiles of health and disease from birth to death and from the molecular to the societal scale; accelerated understanding of disease causation and progression, discovery of new mechanisms and treatment-relevant disease sub-phenotypes, understanding health and diseases in whole populations and whole health systems and returning actionable feedback loops to improve (and potentially disrupt) existing models of research and care, with greater efficiency. In early translational research we identified exemplars including: discovery of fundamental biological processes e.g. linking exome sequences to lifelong electronic health records (EHR) (e.g. human knockout experiments); drug development: genomic approaches to drug target validation; precision medicine: e.g. DNA integrated into hospital EHR for pre-emptive pharmacogenomics. In late translational research we identified exemplars including: learning health systems with outcome trials integrated into clinical care; citizen driven health with 24/7 multi-parameter patient monitoring to improve outcomes and population-based linkages of multiple EHR sources for higher resolution clinical epidemiology and public health. Conclusion High volumes of inherently diverse ('big') EHR data are beginning to disrupt the nature of cardiovascular research and care. Such big data have the potential to improve our understanding of disease causation and classification relevant for early translation and to contribute actionable analytics to improve health and healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1495
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Volume39
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Bio-informatics
  • e-Health
  • Electronic health records
  • Health informatics
  • Precision medicine
  • Translational research

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