Taking away heartache through health data: Data analysis looks at aspirin dose in heart disease

August 11, 2014 − by Suzanne Elvidge − in Big data, Big data in research, Data mining, Healthcare big data analysis − No Comments

Analysis of health data in a new clinical trial could help researchers find out more about the best dose of aspirin in heart disease.

Aspirin has been used to treat and prevent heart disease since the 1970s, but the best dose is in question. Too high a dose can cause intestinal bleeding, but it’s not clear whether a smaller amount is as effective, or even whether it is any safer. A clinical trial funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) aims to use health data to answer this question. According to Nature, this is one of the biggest healthcare data analytics projects so far, involving data from up to 30 million people.

The randomized controlled trial will be conducted by researchers involved in the health data networks that together comprise PCORnet (National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network), a national health data research infrastructure being developed with PCORI funding. As well as providing evidence to help doctors and patients make treatment decisions in coronary artery disease, the study will also test out PCORnet’s capabilities and efficiency. PCORI has provided up to $10 million to fund the aspirin study and will help to develop the trial design. The trial should begin in first quarter 2015, and complete by the end of 2016.

“We’re pleased that the initial trial to be conducted using PCORnet’s resources will provide valuable information on a fundamental and highly practical aspect of care for millions of people with a common chronic condition,” said Joe Selby, PCORI executive director. “Moreover, launching this trial now, in the early stages of PCORnet’s development, will help the network partners assess the interoperability and security of their data and demonstrate the capacity of PCORnet to conduct research more efficiently while maintaining high research standards.”

In December 2013, PCORI invested $93.5 million to support the development and expansion of the 29 health data networks—11 clinical data research networks and 18 patient-powered research networks—that make up PCORnet. The individual networks will gather information from sources such as electronic health records, claims, and patients themselves and work together on analysis.

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