Publication bias in clinical trials of electronic health records

J Biomed Inform. 2013 Feb;46(1):139-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2012.08.007. Epub 2012 Sep 10.


Objective: To measure the rate of non-publication and assess possible publication bias in clinical trials of electronic health records.

Methods: We searched to identify registered clinical trials of electronic health records and searched the biomedical literature and contacted trial investigators to determine whether the results of the trials were published. Publications were judged as positive, negative, or neutral according to the primary outcome.

Results: Seventy-six percent of trials had publications describing trial results; of these, 74% were positive, 21% were neutral, and 4% were negative (harmful). Of unpublished studies for which the investigator responded, 43% were positive, 57% were neutral, and none were negative; the lower rate of positive results was significant (p<0.001).

Conclusion: The rate of non-publication in electronic health record studies is similar to that in other biomedical studies. There appears to be a bias toward publication of positive trials in this domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Publication Bias*