An Overview of Commonly Used Data Sources in Observational Research in Anesthesia

Haoyan Zhong, Pa Thor, Alex Illescas, Crispiana Cozowicz, Alejandro Gonzalez Della Valle, Jiabin Liu, Stavros G. Memtsoudis, Jashvant Poeran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Anesthesia research using existing databases has drastically expanded over the last decade. The most commonly used data sources in multi-institutional observational research are administrative databases and clinical registries. These databases are powerful tools to address research questions that are difficult to answer with smaller samples or single-institution information. Given that observational database research has established itself as valuable field in anesthesiology, we systematically reviewed publications in 3 high-impact North American anesthesia journals in the past 5 years with the goal to characterize its scope. We identified a wide range of data sources used for anesthesia-related research. Research topics ranged widely spanning questions regarding optimal anesthesia type and analgesic protocols to outcomes and cost of care both on a national and a local level. Researchers should choose their data sources based on various factors such as the population encompassed by the database, ability of the data to adequately address the research question, budget, acceptable limitations, available data analytics resources, and pipeline of follow-up studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-558
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


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