Medical records

One main reason for Group Health Research Institute's (GHRI) growth and success is its ability to study Group Health's member population over time. Institute researchers have access to decades of high-quality, computerized data from the Group Health care-delivery system. They also have access to a wealth of information regarding diagnoses and medical history in non-computerized medical charts. Together these resources provide an unequalled opportunity for health research and evaluation.

The Institute's skilled medical record reviewers abstract data from approximately 8,000 outpatient charts each year. To date, they have retrieved data on a full 95 percent of all patients included in studies based on active medical records. With the implementation of EpicCare, Group Health's computerized information system, many reviews involve abstracting information from both paper and electronic records.

GHRI staff protect patient confidentiality by following Group Health's standard policies and procedures for handling patient records. To help ensure consistency, the Institute's medical records research manager serves on the Group Health Confidentiality and Security Council.