Data Quality in Electronic Health Records Research: Quality Domains and Assessment Methods

West J Nurs Res. 2018 May;40(5):753-766. doi: 10.1177/0193945916689084. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


The proliferation of the electronic health record (EHR) has led to increasing interest and opportunities for nurse scientists to use EHR data in a variety of research designs. However, methodological problems pertaining to data quality may arise when EHR data are used for nonclinical purposes. Therefore, this article describes common domains of data quality and approaches for quality appraisal in EHR research. Common data quality domains include data accuracy, completeness, consistency, credibility, and timeliness. Approaches for quality appraisal include data validation with data rules, evaluation and verification of data abstraction methods with statistical measures, data comparisons with manual chart review, management of missing data using statistical methods, and data triangulation between multiple EHR databases. Quality data enhance the validity and reliability of research findings, form the basis for conclusions derived from the data, and are, thus, an integral component in EHR-based study design and implementation.

Keywords: experimental or quasiexperimental; methodological inquiry; statistical analysis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Data Accuracy*
  • Electronic Health Records / standards*
  • Humans
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Stochastic Processes