Associate Professor, University of Michigan, School of Nursing
Data Quality in Federated Research Networks
Federated research networks have emerged in healthcare, largely in response to the
expanding volume and variety of data that are stored electronically. While such
networks offer tremendous opportunities to expand research capabilities across the
entire spectrum of biomedical research, such networks also present new challenges to
fundamental considerations of data reuse for research. Data quality is one such
challenge, including its definition, dimensions, processes required to support data quality
across complicated data flows that can be broken at any point, and metrics that allow
users of those data to ask whether the data are “fit for use”.
Referencing ISO 9000 (quality management systems) and ISO 8000 (information and
data quality), we first compare data quality concepts across various groups developing
best practice documents for distributed healthcare research networks, and then
specifically illustrate issues from a “data partner” perspective. Although specific
examples are in the context of the “bottom-up” perspective of one node in one clinical
data research network of PCORnet (the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research
Network), we generalize to the notion of data quality characterization and an
organizational data architecture that enables decision making regarding participation in
other federated research networks.
Dr. Harris’s career spans both research and practice experience in informatics and health services research, specifically clinical data integration and semantics, and the development and deployment of systems and processes that enable data integration for practice and large scale research. She currently serves as a co-investigator and faculty lead for the University of Michigan node of the Patient Centered Network of Learning Health Systems (LHSNet), a clinical data research network within PCORnet, and also serves on the University’s Translational Research Council. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, she held appointments at Mayo Clinic as a career scientist in the Department of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics and an executive operational role for nursing research and clinical informatics.