Health IT Pulse

Jul 9 2014   3:42PM GMT

Practice Fusion launches searchable database of de-identified open health data

Shaun Sutner Shaun Sutner Profile: Shaun Sutner

open health data
Practice Fusion
searchable database

Bet you didn’t know that shoulder contusions are trending up as the number-one reason for doctor visits, and that post-trauma headaches and middle ear infections account for the next two biggest increases in doctor visits lately.

These developments were flagged in a free, searchable database of de-identified open health data for consumers, “Insight,” launched by Practice Fusion, Inc. a San Francisco cloud EHR vendor. It aggregates data from Practice Fusion’s 112,000 physician users, who see an average of 250,000 patients a day, according to the company.

Of course, consumers beware: As with any “free” vendor initiative, be aware that the claimed real-time data users can play around with was collected by an EHR vendor with its own agenda, including generating sales and leads. While it’s fun to explore, it’s not necessarily thoroughly objective, third-party-vetted, peer-reviewed stuff. But it sure is interesting.

Trending down, by the way, are conjunctivitis, abdominal tenderness, and cellulitis, according to the interactive infographics found in Insight’s diagnosis section, which tracks visit volume for a few dozen diagnoses on a week-over-week basis.

Meanwhile, the top 10 from 2013 through the present are: hypertension, hyperlipidemia (otherwise known as high cholesterol); diabetes; depression; osteoarthritis; reflux disease; hypothyroidism; obesity; anxiety; and insomnia. The database goes on to list the rest of the top 100, and each one’s share of the total pie.

Insight also allows users who register with an email address to check market share of prescribed medications by drug class. For example, within the angiotensin blocker class, Lisinopril enjoys a 72% market share. Among SSRI antidepressants, Zoloft has 17% of the market, while old standby Prozac clings to 12%, Celexa takes 11% and Paxil CR, 1%, as of July 6.

As for patient data (all anonymized), here are some notable data points gleaned from Insight. Fifty-nine is the median age for all patients, 53% of whom are male. The median body mass index of all patients is 33, which, somewhat distressingly, is well over the 18.5-24.9 normal range stipulated by the American Cancer Society.

In the prescriber section of the database, we learn the specialties are ranked in this order among clinicians who prescribe Invokana, a Type 2 Diabetes drug: internal medicine, 37%; family medicine, 31%; endocrinology, 25%; general practice, 4%; and cardiology, 1%.

Here’s the catch. To obtain access to the full range of 2,000 pharmaceuticals as well as a broader range of data views including drug switch trends, though, customers have to pay for a premium account.

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