What particulars are referred to in EHR data? A case study in integrating referent tracking into an electronic health record application

In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association, Chicago, IL. Washington, DC: AMIA. pp. 630-634 (2007)
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Abstract
Referent Tracking (RT) advocates the use of instance unique identifiers to refer to the entities comprising the subject matter of patient health records. RT promises many benefits to those who use health record data to improve patient care. To further the adoption of the paradigm we provide an illustration of how data from an EHR application needs to be decomposed in order to make it accord with the tenets of RT. We describe the ontological principles on which this decomposition is based in order to allow integration efforts to be applied in similar ways to other EHR applications. We find that an ordinary statement from an EHR contains a surprising amount of “hidden” data that are only revealed by its decomposition according to these principles.
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