Synthetic Health Data Generation to Accelerate Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

Clinical data are critical for the conduct of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), but quality health data are often difficult to access because of cost, patient privacy concerns, or other legal restrictions. Even after securing data, one must go through several required processes before applying or using the data, delaying research and ultimately, innovation in health IT. Synthetic data can help relieve some of this burden.

The original software program, Synthea, was developed by the MITRE Corporation and employs an open source development model. Synthea uses publicly available data to generate synthetic data sets compatible with a variety of technologies like Health Level Seven International’s (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) and Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA).

The focus of this project is to enhance the ability of Synthea to produce high-quality synthetic data for opioid, pediatric, and complex care use cases by:

  • Identifying and convening a multi-disciplinary expert workshop to provide insights regarding the selection of use cases and module development,
  • Developing data generation modules for Synthea to increase the number and diversity of synthetic patient health records to meet PCOR needs, and
  • Engaging the broader community of researchers and developers to validate the realism and demonstrate the potential uses of the generated synthetic health records.
Content last reviewed on September 19, 2019
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