Longitudinal cohorts for harnessing the electronic health record for disease prediction in a US population

Sheila M. Manemann, Jennifer L. St Sauver, Hongfang Liu, Nicholas B. Larson, Sungrim Moon, Paul Y. Takahashi, Janet E. Olson, Walter A. Rocca, Virginia M. Miller, Terry M. Therneau, Che G. Ngufor, Veronique L. Roger, Yiqing Zhao, Paul A. Decker, Jill M. Killian, Suzette J. Bielinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The depth and breadth of clinical data within electronic health record (EHR) systems paired with innovative machine learning methods can be leveraged to identify novel risk factors for complex diseases. However, analysing the EHR is challenging due to complexity and quality of the data. Therefore, we developed large electronic population-based cohorts with comprehensive harmonised and processed EHR data. Participants All individuals 30 years of age or older who resided in Olmsted County, Minnesota on 1 January 2006 were identified for the discovery cohort. Algorithms to define a variety of patient characteristics were developed and validated, thus building a comprehensive risk profile for each patient. Patients are followed for incident diseases and ageing-related outcomes. Using the same methods, an independent validation cohort was assembled by identifying all individuals 30 years of age or older who resided in the largely rural 26-county area of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin on 1 January 2013. Findings to date For the discovery cohort, 76 255 individuals (median age 49; 53% women) were identified from which a total of 9 644 221 laboratory results; 9 513 840 diagnosis codes; 10 924 291 procedure codes; 1 277 231 outpatient drug prescriptions; 966 136 heart rate measurements and 1 159 836 blood pressure (BP) measurements were retrieved during the baseline time period. The most prevalent conditions in this cohort were hyperlipidaemia, hypertension and arthritis. For the validation cohort, 333 460 individuals (median age 54; 52% women) were identified and to date, a total of 19 926 750 diagnosis codes, 10 527 444 heart rate measurements and 7 356 344 BP measurements were retrieved during baseline. Future plans Using advanced machine learning approaches, these electronic cohorts will be used to identify novel sex-specific risk factors for complex diseases. These approaches will allow us to address several challenges with the use of EHR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044253
JournalBMJ open
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2021


  • epidemiology
  • health informatics
  • statistics & research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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