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Using big data to improve cardiovascular care and outcomes in China: a protocol for the CHinese Electronic health Records Research in Yinzhou (CHERRY) Study
  1. Hongbo Lin1,
  2. Xun Tang2,
  3. Peng Shen1,
  4. Dudan Zhang2,
  5. Jinguo Wu3,
  6. Jingyi Zhang3,
  7. Ping Lu3,
  8. Yaqin Si2,
  9. Pei Gao2
  1. 1 Yinzhou District Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ningbo, China
  2. 2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China
  3. 3 Wonders Information Co.Ltd, Shanghai, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Pei Gao; peigao{at}


Introduction Data based on electronic health records (EHRs) are rich with individual-level longitudinal measurement information and are becoming an increasingly common data source for clinical risk prediction worldwide. However, few EHR-based cohort studies are available in China. Harnessing EHRs for research requires a full understanding of data linkages, management, and data quality in large data sets, which presents unique analytical opportunities and challenges. The purpose of this study is to provide a framework to establish a uniquely integrated EHR database in China for scientific research.

Methods and analysis The CHinese Electronic health Records Research in Yinzhou (CHERRY) Study will extract individual participant data within the regional health information system of an eastern coastal area of China to establish a longitudinal population-based ambispective cohort study for cardiovascular care and outcomes research. A total of 1 053 565 Chinese adults aged over 18 years were registered in the health information system in 2009, and there were 23 394 deaths from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2015. The study will include information from multiple epidemiological surveys; EHRs for chronic disease management; and health administrative, clinical, laboratory, drug and electronic medical record (EMR) databases. Follow-up of fatal and non-fatal clinical events is achieved through records linkage to the regional system of disease surveillance, chronic disease management and EMRs (based on diagnostic codes from the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision). The CHERRY Study will provide a unique platform and serve as a valuable big data resource for cardiovascular risk prediction and population management, for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in China.

Ethics and dissemination The CHERRY Study was approved by the Peking University Institutional Review Board (IRB00001052-16011) in April 2016. Results of the study will be disseminated through published journal articles, conferences and seminar presentations, and on the study website (

  • cardiovascular diseases
  • electronic health records
  • Chinese

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  • HL and XT contributed equally.

  • Contributors HL, XT and PG drafted the manuscript. HL, XT, PS and PG conceived and designed the study. DZ, JW, JZ, PL and YS made substantial contributions to the study design. HL, JW and PS are responsible for study coordination; XT, PS and JZ are responsible for data quality control; DZ, PL and YS are responsible for data wrangling; XT, DZ, YS and PG are responsible for data analysis. All authors contributed to the writing of the study protocol in an iterative manner, and have read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91546120, 81573226), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (7162107) and the National Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars, China (QNQR201501).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Detail has been removed from these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making

  • Ethics approval Peking University Institutional Review Board (IRB00001052-16011) and the local health authority.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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