Introduction: The lack of aggregated longitudinal health data on farmworkers has severely limited opportunities to conduct research to improve their health status. To correct this problem, we have created the infrastructure necessary to develop and maintain a national Research Data Repository of migrant and seasonal farmworker patients and other community members receiving medical care from Community and Migrant Health Centers (C/MHCs). Project specific research databases can be easily extracted from this repository.
Methods: The Community Based Research Network (CBRN) has securely imported and merged electronic health records (EHRs) data from five geographically dispersed C/MHCs. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our data aggregation methodologies, we also conducted a small pilot study using clinical, laboratory and demographic data from the CBRN Data Repository from two initial C/MHCs to evaluate HbA1c management.
Results: Overall, there were 67,878 total patients (2,858 farmworkers) that were seen by two C/MHCs from January to August 2013. A total of 94,189 encounters were captured and all could be linked to a unique patient. HbA1c values decreased as the number of tests or intensity of testing increased.
Conclusion: This project will inform the foundation for an expanding collection of C/MHC data for use by clinicians for medical care coordination, by clinics to assess quality of care, by public health agencies for surveillance, and by researchers under Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversight to advance understanding of the needs and capacity of the migrant and seasonal farmworker population and the health centers that serve them. Approved researchers can request data that constitute a Limited Data Set from the CBRN Data Repository to establish a specific research database for their project.