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NIDA Clinical Trials Network Common Data Elements Initiative: Advancing Big-Data Addictive-Disorders Research [opinion].

Frontiers in Psychiatry 2015;6:33. [doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00033]

Udi E. Ghitza, PhD (NIDA Center for the Clinical Trials Network), Robert E. Gore-Langton, PhD (The EMMES Corporation), Robert Lindblad, MD (The EMMES Corporation), Betty Tai, PhD (NIDA Center for the Clinical Trials Network).

The National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently launched a public portal ( which provides a single-source repository for CTN-recommended common data elements (CDEs) for substance use disorders (SUD) for use in electronic health record systems (EHRs) and clinical research. A CDE in this context is a data element consisting of a question and enumerated set of possible values for responses precisely defined by standardized metadata descriptors. CDEs consisting of individual question/answer pairs can be combined into more complex questionnaires and case report forms or used when gathering medical information in the context of providing clinical care. Thus, CDEs describe semantic characteristics for a discrete piece of data, which will be collected, stored, or exchanged during the course of a study or health examination. This will facilitate exchange of standardized data because of the use of CDEs. In this manner, NIDA CDEs can be commonly applied to multiple data collection systems whether in research or clinical care and across different institutions, such that their intentional commonality with use of common data standards can improve data quality, facilitate data repurposing, and promote data sharing. This paper describes objectives and importance of the CTN CDEs initiative and portal to translational psychiatric research: To support harmonized use of EHR-compatible common data elements to enable exchange and integration of data to answer clinical meaningful questions of broad interest to SUD treatment research, thereby facilitating big-data biomedical science crossing boundaries between research and clinical care. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2015)

Keywords: Common data elements | Data collection | Data management | Electronic health records (EHR) | Frontiers in Psychiatry (journal)

Document No: 1130.

Submitted by Udi Ghitza, PhD, NIDA CCTN, 3/3/2015.

Ghitza, Udi E. mail
Gore-Langton, Robert E.
Lindblad, Robert mail
Tai, Betty mail

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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
The materials on this site have neither been created nor reviewed by NIDA.
Updated 3/2015 --
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