Considerations for Improving the Portability of Electronic Health Record-Based Phenotype Algorithms. Academic Article uri icon



  • With the increased adoption of electronic health records, data collected for routine clinical care is used for health outcomes and population sciences research, including the identification of phenotypes. In recent years, research networks, such as eMERGE, OHDSI and PCORnet, have been able to increase statistical power and population diversity by combining patient cohorts. These networks share phenotype algorithms that are executed at each participating site. Here we observe experiences with phenotype algorithm portability across seven research networks and propose a generalizable framework for phenotype algorithm portability. Several strategies exist to increase the portability of phenotype algorithms, reducing the implementation effort needed by each site. These include using a common data model, standardized representation of the phenotype algorithm logic, and technical solutions to facilitate federated execution of queries. Portability is achieved by tradeoffs across three domains: Data, Authoring and Implementation, and multiple approaches were observed in representing portable phenotype algorithms. Our proposed framework will help guide future research in operationalizing phenotype algorithm portability at scale.

publication date

  • March 4, 2020



  • Algorithms
  • Electronic Health Records


PubMed Central ID

  • PMC7153055

Scopus Document Identifier

  • 85073257360

PubMed ID

  • 32308871

Additional Document Info


  • 2019