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EMRs provide valuable genetic data quickly

InformationWeek, April 26, 2011

The use of electronic medical records (EMRs) to collect patient data can reduce the time it takes to locate relevant information for genetic studies, and reduce the cost of gathering this information, according to researchers at Northwestern University's school of Medicine. Published in the April 20 issue of Science Translational Medicine, the study said researchers were able to cull patient information in EMRs from routine doctors' visits at five national sites that all used different brands of medical record software. The information allowed researchers to accurately identify patients with type 2 diabetes, dementia, peripheral arterial disease, cataracts, and cardiac conduction. A study of this kind often relies on recruiting thousands of patients to collect health data for genetic clues to disease, which is expensive and time consuming, researchers said.