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Bridging islands of information to establish an integrated knowledge base of drugs and health outcomes of interest.
The entire drug safety enterprise has a need to search, retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize scientific evidence more efficiently. This discovery and synthesis process would be greatly accelerated through access to a common framework that brings all relevant information sources together within a standardized structure. This presents an opportunity to establish an open-source community effort to develop a global knowledge base, one that brings together and standardizes all available information for all drugs and all health outcomes of interest (HOIs) from all electronic sources pertinent to drug safety. To make this vision a reality, we have established a workgroup within the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI, http://ohdsi.org) collaborative. The workgroup's mission is to develop an open-source standardized knowledge base for the effects of medical products and an efficient procedure for maintaining and expanding it. The knowledge base will make it simpler for practitioners to access, retrieve, and synthesize evidence so that they can reach a rigorous and accurate assessment of causal relationships between a given drug and HOI. Development of the knowledge base will proceed with the measureable goal of supporting an efficient and thorough evidence-based assessment of the effects of 1,000 active ingredients across 100 HOIs. This non-trivial task will result in a high-quality and generally applicable drug safety knowledge base. It will also yield a reference standard of drug-HOI pairs that will enable more advanced methodological research that empirically evaluates the performance of drug safety analysis methods.