Kanas G, Morimoto L, Mowat F, O’Malley C, Fryzek J, Nordyke R. 2010. Use of electronic medical records in oncology outcomes research. Clinicoecon Outcomes Res 2:1-14.
Oncology outcomes research could benefit from the use of an oncology-specific electronic medical record (EMR) network. The benefits and challenges of using EMR in general health research have been investigated; however, the utility of EMR for oncology outcomes research has not been explored. Compared to current available oncology databases and registries, an oncology-specific EMR could provide comprehensive and accurate information on clinical diagnoses, personal and medical histories, planned and actual treatment regimens, and post-treatment outcomes, to address research questions from patients, policy makers, the pharmaceutical industry, and clinicians/researchers. Specific challenges related to structural (eg, interoperability, data format/entry), clinical (eg, maintenance and continuity of records, variety of coding schemes), and research-related (eg, missing data, generalizability, privacy) issues must be addressed when building an oncology-specific EMR system. Researchers should engage with medical professional groups to guide development of EMR systems that would ultimately help improve the quality of cancer care through oncology outcomes research.