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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2017 Aug;26(8):963-972. doi: 10.1002/pds.4234. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Agreement and validity of electronic health record prescribing data relative to pharmacy claims data: A validation study from a US electronic health record database.

Author information

Collaborative Healthcare Research and Data Analytics (COHRDATA), Santa Monica, CA, USA.
Department of Health Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA.
Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA.
AMGA, Alexandria, VA, USA.
Division of Gastroenterology, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Granular clinical and laboratory data available in electronic health record (EHR) databases provide researchers the opportunity to conduct investigations that would not be possible in insurance claims databases; however, for pharmacoepidemiology studies, accurate classification of medication exposure is critical.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the validity of classifying medication exposure using EHR prescribing (EHR-Rx) data.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study among patients with linked claims and EHR data in OptumLabs™ Data Warehouse. The agreement between EHR-Rx data and pharmacy claims (PC-Rx) data (for 40 medications) was determined using the positive predictive value (PPV) and medication possession ratio (MPR)-calculated in 1- and 12-month medication exposure periods (MEPs). Secondary analyses were restricted to incident vs prevalent EHR-Rxs, age ≥65 vs <65, white vs black race, males vs females, and number of EHR-Rxs.


The validity metrics varied substantially among the 40 medications assessed. Across all medications, the period PPV and MPR were 62% and 63% in the 1-month MEP. They were 78% and 43% in the 12-month MEP. Overall, PPV and MPR were higher for patients with a prevalent EHR-Rx and age <65.


Despite substantial variability among different medications, there was very good agreement between EHR-Rx data and PC-Rx data. To maximize the validity of classifying medication exposure with EHR prescribing data, researchers may consider using longer MEPs (eg, 12 months) and potentially require multiple EHR-Rxs to classify baseline medication exposure.


EHR prescribing records; medication possession ratio; positive predictive valuevalidity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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