Duke Center for Health Informatics: Using Electronic Health Records to Understand the Population of Local Children Captured In a Large Health System in Durham County, NC
Local data is essential for understanding and improving local children's health, yet sample size constraints in population-representative health surveys often prevent rigorous evaluations of child health disparities and care patterns. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) offer a possible solution as they contain large amounts of information on pediatric patients within a health system. This presentation considers the suitability of using EHRs from a large health system to draw population inferences about local children's health by evaluating the extent to which EHRs capture a local county's child population. Using the Duke University Health System (DUHS) as a case study, I will first compare the demographic characteristics of DUHS pediatric patients who live in Durham County, NC (USA) to the local child population estimates in the 2015-2019 American Community Survey. Next, I will examine geographic variation in census tract rates of children captured in the EHR data and estimate negative binomial models to assess how tract characteristics are associated with these rates. Finally, I will discuss the implications of the results for child population health research and how future EHR-based evaluations of children's health disparities and health care patterns should account for differences in who is captured by the EHRs based on census tract characteristics.
Allison Stolte is a PhD candidate at Duke University pursuing a joint degree in Sociology & Public Policy. She has over a decade of experience conducting social science research and has extensive experience working with complex administrative datasets, including Electronic Health Records. In 2021, she received the Phillip Jackson Baugh Fellowship for her dissertation, which examines how social contexts and state-level policies contribute to the intergenerational transmission of health through birth outcomes. Allison previously worked at the Urban Institute and has a Master of Public Policy from Duke University. Her research is published in Demography, Journal of Health & Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, & SSM-Population Health.
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