Preliminary exploration of survival analysis using the OHDSI common data model: A case study of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Na Hong, Ning Zhang, Huawei Wu, Shanshan Lu, Yue Yu, Li Hou, Yinying Lu, Hongfang Liu, Guoqian Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Data heterogeneity is a common phenomenon related to the secondary use of electronic health records (EHR) data from different sources. The Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI) Common Data Model (CDM) organizes healthcare data into standard data structures using concepts that are explicitly and formally specified through standard vocabularies, thereby facilitating large-scale analysis. The objective of this study is to design, develop, and evaluate generic survival analysis routines built using the OHDSI CDM. Methods: We used intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) patient data to implement CDM-based survival analysis methods. Our methods comprise the following modules: 1) Mapping local terms to standard OHDSI concepts. The analytical expression of variables and values related to demographic characteristics, medical history, smoking status, laboratory results, and tumor feature data. These data were mapped to standard OHDSI concepts through a manual analysis; 2) Loading patient data into the CDM using the concept mappings; 3) Developing an R interface that supports the portable survival analysis on top of OHDSI CDM, and comparing the CDM-based analysis results with those using traditional statistical analysis methods. Results: Our dataset contained 346 patients diagnosed with ICC. The collected clinical data contains 115 variables, of which 75 variables were mapped to the OHDSI concepts. These concepts mainly belong to four domains: condition, observation, measurement, and procedure. The corresponding standard concepts are scattered in six vocabularies: ICD10CM, ICD10PCS, SNOMED, LOINC, NDFRT, and READ. We loaded a total of 25,950 patient data records into the OHDSI CDM database. However, 40 variables failed to map to the OHDSI CDM as they mostly belong to imaging data and pathological data. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that conducting survival analysis using the OHDSI CDM is feasible and can produce reusable analysis routines. However, challenges to be overcome include 1) semantic loss caused by inaccurate mapping and value normalization; 2) incomplete OHDSI vocabularies describing imaging data, pathological data, and modular data representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
StatePublished - Dec 7 2018


  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
  • Multi-center analysis
  • R
  • Survival analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Preliminary exploration of survival analysis using the OHDSI common data model: A case study of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this