Role of data warehousing in healthcare epidemiology.
Wyllie D., Davies J.
Electronic storage of healthcare data, including individual-level risk factors for both infectious and other diseases, is increasing. These data can be integrated at hospital, regional and national levels. Data sources that contain risk factor and outcome information for a wide range of conditions offer the potential for efficient epidemiological analysis of multiple diseases. Opportunities may also arise for monitoring healthcare processes. Integrating diverse data sources presents epidemiological, practical, and ethical challenges. For example, diagnostic criteria, outcome definitions, and ascertainment methods may differ across the data sources. Data volumes may be very large, requiring sophisticated computing technology. Given the large populations involved, perhaps the most challenging aspect is how informed consent can be obtained for the development of integrated databases, particularly when it is not easy to demonstrate their potential. In this article, we discuss some of the ups and downs of recent projects as well as the potential of data warehousing for antimicrobial resistance monitoring.