With the advent of the digitization of large amounts of information and the computer power capable of analyzing this volume of information, data mining is increasingly being applied to medical research. Datasets created for administration of the healthcare system provide a wealth of information from different healthcare sectors, and Canadian provinces’ single-payer universal healthcare systems mean that data are more comprehensive and complete in this country than in many other jurisdictions. The increasing ability to also link clinical information, such as electronic medical records, laboratory test results and disease registries, has broadened the types of data available for analysis. Data-mining methods have been used in many different areas of diabetes clinical research, including classic epidemiology, effectiveness research, population health and health services research. Although methodologic challenges and privacy concerns remain important barriers to using these techniques, data mining remains a powerful tool for clinical research.
Research and statistical methods