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Increasing Trust in Real-World Evidence Through Evaluation of Observational Data Quality

By Clair Blacketer, Frank J Defalco, Patrick B. Ryan, Peter R. Rijnbeek

Posted 26 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.25.21254341

Advances in standardization of observational healthcare data have enabled methodological breakthroughs, rapid global collaboration, and generation of real-world evidence to improve patient outcomes. Standardizations in data structure, such as use of Common Data Models (CDM), need to be coupled with standardized approaches for data quality assessment. To ensure confidence in real-world evidence generated from the analysis of real-world data, one must first have confidence in the data itself. The Data Quality Dashboard is an open-source R package that reports potential quality issues in an OMOP CDM instance through the systematic execution and summarization of over 3,300 configurable data quality checks. We describe the implementation of check types across a data quality framework of conformance, completeness, plausibility, with both verification and validation. We illustrate how data quality checks, paired with decision thresholds, can be configured to customize data quality reporting across a range of observational health data sources. We discuss how data quality reporting can become part of the overall real-world evidence generation and dissemination process to promote transparency and build confidence in the resulting output. Transparently communicating how well CDM standardized databases adhere to a set of quality measures adds a crucial piece that is currently missing from observational research. Assessing and improving the quality of our data will inherently improve the quality of the evidence we generate.

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