Evaluation considerations for secondary uses of clinical data

principles for an evidence-based approach to policy and implementation of secondary analysis

P. J. Scott, M. Rigby, E. Ammenwerth, J. Brender McNair, A. Georgiou, H. Hyppönen, N. de Keizer, F. Magrabi, P. Nykänen, W. T. Gude, W. Hackl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To set the scientific context and then suggest principles for an evidence-based approach to secondary uses of clinical data, covering both evaluation of the secondary uses of data and evaluation of health systems and services based upon secondary uses of data. Method: Working Group review of selected literature and policy approaches. Results: We present important considerations in the evaluation of secondary uses of clinical data from the angles of governance and trust, theory, semantics, and policy. We make the case for a multi-level and multi-factorial approach to the evaluation of secondary uses of clinical data and describe a methodological framework for best practice. We emphasise the importance of evaluating the governance of secondary uses of health data in maintaining trust, which is essential for such uses. We also offer examples of the re-use of routine health data to demonstrate how it can support evaluation of clinical performance and optimize health IT system design. Conclusions: Great expectations are resting upon "Big Data" and innovative analytics. However, to build and maintain public trust, improve data reliability, and assure the validity of analytic inferences, there must be independent and transparent evaluation. A mature and evidence-based approach needs not merely data science, but must be guided by the broader concerns of applied health informatics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalYearbook of Medical Informatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017



  • data mining
  • secondary use
  • informed consent
  • evidence-based practice
  • program evaluation

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