Thursday, July 28, 2011

Workshop and Tutorial Summary

I attended the Representing Adverse Events Workshop, and presented as part of the Improving Structured EHR Data Tutorial.

The Adverse Events Workshop confronted the issue of what exactly an adverse event is. A diversity of viewpoints frustrated attempts to reach consensus. The need for an adverse events ontology was called into question by some participants (and one non-participant with whom I discussed the issue afterwards). The concern is that various symptoms and diseases will be duplicated. For example, "fever" vs. "fever adverse event" and "rash" vs. "rash adverse event".

The outcome was an agreement to review use cases and to create a Google Group where participants can post links to their ontologies with requests for feedback. One participant took the action item of reviewing various artifacts (ontology and otherwise) that give definitions of 'adverse event' to look for commonalities.

The Improving Structured EHR Data Tutorial was given by Werner Ceusters and myself. As one of the instructors, I do not want to overstate the success of the tutorial, but there were excellent discussions about Referent Tracking and the advantages it has for making EHR data unambiguous. At least one participant approached me to express her appreciation for the potential of Referent Tracking, and her willingness to collaborate on projects in the future.

The hard work of improving our ability to leverage information to accelerate improvements in the quality and efficiency of biomedical research and patient care continues...

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