Electronic medical record: research tool for pancreatic cancer

UMMS Affiliation

Surgical Outcomes Analysis and Research (SOAR), Department of Surgery; Office of Information Systems, Massachusetts Integrated Clinical Academic Research Database; Senior Scholars Program



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Academic Medical Centers; Aged; Biomedical Research; Databases, Factual; Electronic Health Records; Female; Hospital Information Systems; Humans; International Classification of Diseases; Male; Middle Aged; Pancreatic Neoplasms; Reproducibility of Results


Health Information Technology | Health Services Administration | Surgery | Translational Medical Research


BACKGROUND: A novel data warehouse based on automated retrieval from an institutional health care information system (HIS) was made available to be compared with a traditional prospectively maintained surgical database.

METHODS: A newly established institutional data warehouse at a single-institution academic medical center autopopulated by HIS was queried for International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnosis codes for pancreatic neoplasm. Patients with ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes for pancreatic neoplasm were captured. A parallel query was performed using a prospective database populated by manual entry. Duplicated patients and those unique to either data set were identified. All patients were manually reviewed to determine the accuracy of diagnosis.

RESULTS: A total of 1107 patients were identified from the HIS-linked data set with pancreatic neoplasm from 1999-2009. Of these, 254 (22.9%) patients were also captured by the surgical database, whereas 853 (77.1%) patients were only in the HIS-linked data set. Manual review of the HIS-only group demonstrated that 45.0% of patients were without identifiable pancreatic pathology, suggesting erroneous capture, whereas 36.3% of patients were consistent with pancreatic neoplasm and 18.7% with other pancreatic pathology. Of the 394 patients identified by the surgical database, 254 (64.5%) patients were captured by HIS, whereas 140 (35.5%) patients were not. Manual review of patients only captured by the surgical database demonstrated 85.9% with pancreatic neoplasm and 14.1% with other pancreatic pathology. Finally, review of the 254 patient overlap demonstrated that 80.3% of patients had pancreatic neoplasm and 19.7% had other pancreatic pathology.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that cautious interpretation of administrative data rely only on ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes and clinical correlation through previously validated mechanisms.


Citation: Arous EJ, McDade TP, Smith JK, Ng SC, Sullivan ME, Zottola RJ, Ranauro PJ, Shah SA, Whalen GF, Tseng JF. Electronic medical record: research tool for pancreatic cancer? J Surg Res. 2014 Apr;187(2):466-70. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2013.10.036. Link to article on publisher's site

Edward Arous participated in this study as a medical student as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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