Randomized cohort studies are the gold-standard for biomedical research. However, they are costly and cumbersome. The ubiquity of electronic health records (EHRs) makes patient data available seamlessly, however, it is not know to what extend EHR data could replace cohort studies.
In a recent study published in the journal Circulation, Northwestern Medicine investigators identified the similarities and differences between cardiovascular data pulled from EHRs and data collected in a traditional cohort study. Their findings illustrate both the potential benefits and limitations of using clinical EHR data for epidemiological research, especially as EHRs become standard in healthcare systems and are increasingly leveraged for major research programs, such as the “All of Us” precision medicine initiative.