Leveraging electronic health record data for clinical trial planning by assessing eligibility criteria's impact on patient count and safety

James R. Rogers, Jovana Pavisic, Casey N. Ta, Cong Liu, Ali Soroush, Ying Kuen Cheung, George Hripcsak, Chunhua Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To present an approach on using electronic health record (EHR) data that assesses how different eligibility criteria, either individually or in combination, can impact patient count and safety (exemplified by all-cause hospitalization risk) and further assist with criteria selection for prospective clinical trials. Materials and methods: Trials in three disease domains – relapsed/refractory (r/r) lymphoma/leukemia; hepatitis C virus (HCV); stages 3 and 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) – were analyzed as case studies for this approach. For each disease domain, criteria were identified and all criteria combinations were used to create EHR cohorts. Per combination, two values were derived: (1) number of eligible patients meeting the selected criteria; (2) hospitalization risk, measured as the hazard ratio between those that qualified and those that did not. From these values, k-means clustering was applied to derive which criteria combinations maximized patient counts but minimized hospitalization risk. Results: Criteria combinations that reduced hospitalization risk without substantial reductions on patient counts were as follows: for r/r lymphoma/leukemia (23 trials; 9 criteria; 623 patients), applying no infection and adequate absolute neutrophil count while forgoing no prior malignancy; for HCV (15; 7; 751), applying no human immunodeficiency virus and no hepatocellular carcinoma while forgoing no decompensated liver disease/cirrhosis; for CKD (10; 9; 23893), applying no congestive heart failure. Conclusions: Within each disease domain, the more drastic effects were generally driven by a few criteria. Similar criteria across different disease domains introduce different changes. Although results are contingent on the trial sample and the EHR data used, this approach demonstrates how EHR data can inform the impact on safety and available patients when exploring different criteria combinations for designing clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104032
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical research informatics
  • Clinical trials (as topic)
  • Electronic health records
  • Outcome assessment
  • Patient recruitment


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