Using Electronic Health Record Data for Occupational Therapy Health Services Research: Invited Commentary

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



OTJR : occupation, participation and health




functional outcomes; knowledge translation; rehabilitation


Health services research (HSR) is a field of study that examines how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and health and well-being. HSR approaches can help build the occupational therapy evidence base, particularly in relation to population health. Data from electronic health record (EHR) systems provide a rich resource for applying HSR approaches to examine the value of occupational therapy services. Transparency about data preparation procedures is important for interpreting results. Based on our findings, we describe a six-step cleaning protocol for preparing EHR and billing data from an inpatient rehabilitation facility for research and provide recommendations for the field based on our experience. Using and reporting similar strategies across studies will improve efficiency and transparency, and facilitate comparability of results.


Clinical Research and Leadership