Electronic health records (EHRs) in clinical research and platform trials: Application of the innovative EHR-based methods developed by EU-PEARL.
Lombardo G., Couvert C., Kose M., Begum A., Spiertz C., Worrell C., Hasselbaink D., Didden E-M., Sforzini L., Todorovic M., Lewi M., Brown M., Vaterkowski M., Gullet N., Amasi-Hartoonian N., Griffon N., Pais R., Rodriguez Navarro S., Kremer A., Maes C., Tan EH., Moinat M., Ferrer JG., Pariante CM., Kalra D., Ammour N., Kalko S.
OBJECTIVE: Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are digital platforms in clinical practice used to collect patients' clinical information related to their health status and represents a useful storage of real-world data. EHRs have a potential role in research studies, in particular, in platform trials. Platform trials are innovative trial designs including multiple trial arms (conducted simultaneously and/or sequentially) on different treatments under a single master protocol. However, the use of EHRs in research comes with important challenges such as incompleteness of records and the need to translate trial eligibility criteria into interoperable queries. In this paper, we aim to review and to describe our proposed innovative methods to tackle some of the most important challenges identified. This work is part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) EU Patient-cEntric clinicAl tRial pLatforms (EU-PEARL) project's work package 3 (WP3), whose objective is to deliver tools and guidance for EHR-based protocol feasibility assessment, clinical site selection, and patient pre-screening in platform trials, investing in the building of a data-driven clinical network framework that can execute these complex innovative designs for which feasibility assessments are critically important. METHODS: ISO standards and relevant references informed a readiness survey, producing 354 criteria with corresponding questions selected and harmonised through a 7-round scoring process (0-1) in stakeholder meetings, with 85% of consensus being the threshold of acceptance for a criterium/question. ATLAS cohort definition and Cohort Diagnostics were mainly used to create the trial feasibility eligibility (I/E) criteria as executable interoperable queries. RESULTS: The WP3/EU-PEARL group developed a readiness survey (eSurvey) for an efficient selection of clinical sites with suitable EHRs, consisting of yes-or-no questions, and a set-up of interoperable proxy queries using physicians' defined trial criteria. Both actions facilitate recruiting trial participants and alignment between study costs/timelines and data-driven recruitment potential. CONCLUSION: The eSurvey will help create an archive of clinical sites with mature EHR systems suitable to participate in clinical trials/platform trials, and the interoperable proxy queries of trial eligibility criteria will help identify the number of potential participants. Ultimately, these tools will contribute to the production of EHR-based protocol design.