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Scientific workflows for primary care database studies

A scientific workflow is a method in computer science for formulating abstract descriptions of analytical processes. This allows automation and reuse of many of the tasks in analysing large, complex data sets. A recent article in the journal Statistical Methods in Medical Research discussed the use of these scientific workflows for the analysis of data from large primary care databases.

Routinely collected primary care data in electronic repositories are a promising source of data for audits, quality improvement, health service planning, epidemiological studies and research. However, a number of challenges have been noted about working with these data sets. In the paper, we discuss these issues and describe how we used scientific workflows to analyse data from one large primary care database (GPRD). Some of the steps in the analysis of data from the GPRD our shown in the figure below.

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