UMMS Affiliation

UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Information Technology | Translational Medical Research


Electronic health records (EHRs) provide great promise for identifying cohorts and enhancing research recruitment. Such approaches are sorely needed, but there are few descriptions in the literature of prevailing practices to guide their use. A multidisciplinary workgroup was formed to examine current practices in the use of EHRs in recruitment and to propose future directions. The group surveyed consortium members regarding current practices. Over 98% of the Clinical and Translational Science Award Consortium responded to the survey. Brokered and self-service data warehouse access are in early or full operation at 94% and 92% of institutions, respectively, whereas, EHR alerts to providers and to research teams are at 45% and 48%, respectively, and use of patient portals for research is at 20%. However, these percentages increase significantly to 88% and above if planning and exploratory work were considered cumulatively. For most approaches, implementation reflected perceived demand. Regulatory and workflow processes were similarly varied, and many respondents described substantive restrictions arising from logistical constraints and limitations on collaboration and data sharing. Survey results reflect wide variation in implementation and approach, and point to strong need for comparative research and development of best practices to protect patients and facilitate interinstitutional collaboration and multisite research.


CTSA, Electronic health records, biomedical informatics, clinical research, recruitment, UMCCTS funding

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© The Association for Clinical and Translational Science 2017. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

DOI of Published Version



J Clin Transl Sci. 2017 Aug;1(4):246-252. doi: 10.1017/cts.2017.301. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical and translational science


The UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science was a member of the Methods and Process and Informatics Domain Task Force Workgroup that participated in this survey.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.