Purpose: To compare the quality of data recorded by a commercially available clinical information system (CIS) to other commonly used methods for obtaining large amounts of patient data.
Materials and methods: Five sets of clinical patient data were chosen as a cross-section of all the data collected by a CIS in our intensive care unit (ICU): 1) Length of stay in the ICU, 2) Vital signs, 3) Days of mechanical ventilation, 4) medications, and 5) diagnoses. Data generated by our ICU CIS was compared with other parallel data sets commonly used to obtain the same data for clinical research.
Results: When compared with our CIS, the hospital database recorded a length of stay at least 1 day longer than the actual length of stay 53% of the time. A search of 139,387 sets of vital signs showed less than 0.1% rate of suspected artifact. When compared to direct observation, our CIS correctly recorded days of mechanical ventilation in 23 of 26 patients (88%). Two other data sets, medical diagnoses and medications given showed significant differences with other commonly used databases of the same information collected outside the ICU (billing codes and pharmacy records respectively
Conclusions: Compared to other commonly used data sources for clinical research, a commercially available CIS is an acceptable source of ICU patient data.