Electronic Health Records to Rapidly Assess Biosimilar Uptake: An Example Using Insulin Glargine in a Large U.S. Nursing Home Cohort

Front Pharmacol. 2022 May 4;13:855598. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.855598. eCollection 2022.


Large healthcare administrative databases, like Medicare claims, are a common means to evaluate drug policies. However, administrative data often have a lag time of months to years before they are available to researchers and decision-makers. Therefore, administrative data are not always ideal for timely policy evaluations. Other sources of data are needed to rapidly evaluate policy changes and inform subsequent studies that utilize large administrative data once available. An emerging area of interest in both pharmacoepidemiology and drug policy research that can benefit from rapid data availability is biosimilar uptake, due to the potential for substantial cost savings. To respond to the need for such a data source, we established a public-private partnership to create a near-real-time database of over 1,000 nursing homes' electronic health records to describe and quantify the effects of recent policies related to COVID-19 and medications. In this article, we first describe the components and infrastructure used to create our EHR database. Then, we provide an example that illustrates the use of this database by describing the uptake of insulin glargine-yfgn, a new exchangeable biosimilar for insulin glargine, in US nursing homes. We also examine the uptake of all biosimilars in nursing homes before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude with potential directions for future research and database infrastructure.

Keywords: big data; biological products; diabetes mellitus; health policy; insulin; nursing homes; pharmacoepidemiology.