Use of Electronic Health-Related Datasets in Nursing and Health-Related Research

West J Nurs Res. 2015 Jul;37(7):952-83. doi: 10.1177/0193945914558426. Epub 2014 Nov 23.


Datasets of gigabyte size are common in medical sciences. There is increasing consensus that significant untapped knowledge lies hidden in these large datasets. This review article aims to discuss Electronic Health-Related Datasets (EHRDs) in terms of types, features, advantages, limitations, and possible use in nursing and health-related research. Major scientific databases, MEDLINE, ScienceDirect, and Scopus, were searched for studies or review articles regarding using EHRDs in research. A total number of 442 articles were located. After application of study inclusion criteria, 113 articles were included in the final review. EHRDs were categorized into Electronic Administrative Health-Related Datasets and Electronic Clinical Health-Related Datasets. Subcategories of each major category were identified. EHRDs are invaluable assets for nursing the health-related research. Advanced research skills such as using analytical softwares, advanced statistical procedures, dealing with missing data and missing variables will maximize the efficient utilization of EHRDs in research.

Keywords: clinical datasets; electronic medical records; health-related datasets; meta-synthesis methods; methodological inquiry methods; narrative review methods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Datasets as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records / trends
  • Humans
  • Research / trends*