Developing a linked electronic health record derived data platform to support research into healthy ageing

Nadine E. Andrew, Richard Beare, Tanya Ravipati, Emily Parker, David Snowdon, Kim Naude, Velandai Srikanth

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Introduction Digitalisation of Electronic Health Record (EHR) data has created unique opportunities for research. However, these data are routinely collected for operational purposes and so are not curated to the standard required for research. Harnessing such routine data at large scale allows efficient and long-term epidemiological and health services research. Objectives To describe the establishment a linked EHR derived data platform in the National Centre for Healthy Ageing, Melbourne, Australia, aimed at enabling research targeting national health priority areas in ageing. Methods Our approach incorporated: data validation, curation and warehousing to ensure quality and completeness; end-user engagement and consensus on the platform content; implementation of an artificial intelligence (AI) pipeline for extraction of text-based data items; early consumer involvement; and implementation of routine collection of patient reported outcome measures, in a multisite public health service. Results Data for a cohort of >800,000 patients collected over a 10-year period have been curated within the platform’s research data warehouse. So far 117 items have been identified as suitable for inclusion, from 11 research relevant datasets held within the health service EHR systems. Data access, extraction and release processes, guided by the Five Safes Framework, are being tested through project use-cases. A natural language processing (NLP) pipeline has been implemented and a framework for the routine collection and incorporation of patient reported outcome measures developed. Conclusions We highlight the importance of establishing comprehensive processes for the foundations of a data platform utilising routine data not collected for research purposes. These robust foundations will facilitate future expansion through linkages to other datasets for the efficient and cost-effective study of health related to ageing at a large scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Population Data Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • ageing
  • big data
  • data linkage
  • electronic health record
  • longitudinal cohort

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