Certain medical reference databases are widely used throughout the healthcare industry. This means that informational errors in the sources could hurt a wide range of research projects. Unfortunately, a new report published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found just such a deficiency in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS).
The records in question included NHAMCS logs of emergency room visits. Researcher Steven Green noted that many of the patients stated as experiencing intubation were then recorded as being discharged or sent to a non-critical care unit. The seeming incongruity of these results cast doubt on the data quality
The medical field has a special need for high-integrity information, as coming to correct conclusions when performing health research could save lives. Determining where in the data collection process the errors occurred is important to help doctors find a solution.
Patient information usage in medicine is only expected to intensify over the next few years. According to Wired, a recent industry gathering found strong enthusiasm for the concept of big data. If doctors are to begin using unstructured records to make critical decisions regarding patient care, cleansing and managing archives will become a very different yet vital, process.