Application of an ontology for characterizing data quality for a secondary use of EHR data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of this study is to apply an ontology based assessment process to electronic health record (EHR) data and determine its usefulness in characterizing data quality for calculating an example eMeasure (CMS178). Methods: The process uses a data quality ontology that references separate data quality, domain and task ontologies to compute measures based on proportions of constraints that are satisfied. These quantities indicate how well the data conforms to the domain and how well it fits the task. Results: The process was performed on a de-identified 200,000 encounter sample from a hospital EHR. CodingConsistency was poor (44%) but DomainConsistency (97%) and TaskRelevance (95%) were very good. Improvements in the data quality Measures correlated with improvements in the eMeasure. Conclusion: This approach can encourage the development of new detailed Domain ontologies that can be reused for data quality purposes across different organizations’ EHR data. Automating the data quality assessment process using this method can enable sharing of data quality metrics that may aid in making research results that use EHR data more transparent and reproducible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
JournalApplied clinical informatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Schattauer 2016.


  • Data quality
  • Data validation and verification
  • Electronic health record
  • Ontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of an ontology for characterizing data quality for a secondary use of EHR data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this