Using Distributed Data Networks to Understand Heterogeneity in Real-World Data

Kimberly Westrich, vice president of health services research at the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC), explains how large observational datasets like electronic health records and claims data can provide a glimpse into real-world patient settings. In particular, she talks about the Observational Medical Outcomes Project (OMOP), a distributed data network, and research NPC and Auburn University have undertaken utilizing OMOP data. Ms. Westrich says one of the biggest challenges in examining this type of data is accounting for heterogeneity, or differences in the effects of treatments on individual patients, which is why NPC and Auburn have developed a process to help researchers better investigate and understand this issue.

This process also was described in new research published in Research Synthesis Methods.