Challenges to the Standardization of Burn Data Collection: A Call for Common Data Elements for Burn Care

J Burn Care Res. 2018 Feb 20;39(2):201-208. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0000000000000567.


The use of common data elements (CDEs) is growing in medical research; CDEs have demonstrated benefit in maximizing the impact of existing research infrastructure and funding. However, the field of burn care does not have a standard set of CDEs. The objective of this study is to examine the extent of common data collected in current burn databases.This study examines the data dictionaries of six U.S. burn databases to ascertain the extent of common data. This was assessed from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Thirty-two demographic and clinical data elements were examined. The number of databases that collect each data element was calculated. The data values for each data element were compared across the six databases for common terminology. Finally, the data prompts of the data elements were examined for common language and structure.Five (16%) of the 32 data elements are collected by all six burn databases; additionally, five data elements (16%) are present in only one database. Furthermore, there are considerable variations in data values and prompts used among the burn databases. Only one of the 32 data elements (age) contains the same data values across all databases.The burn databases examined show minimal evidence of common data. There is a need to develop CDEs and standardized coding to enhance interoperability of burn databases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Burns / therapy*
  • Common Data Elements*
  • Data Collection
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Humans
  • Terminology as Topic