A practical guide to conducting and writing medical record review studies

Asad E. Patanwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose. A practical guide to conducting and reporting medical record review studies, including instruction and insights on topics ranging from idea conception to manuscript submission, is provided. Summary. Research based on the retrospective collection and analysis of data from medical records is often the first type of research conducted by new investigators; such research can be particularly useful in high-acuity populations and is often more feasible and cost-effective than prospective studies. The research process begins with formulating a valid hypothesis-driven or exploratory research question and refining it into one that is testable; this can be facilitated by incorporating information from various sources (e.g., relevant literature, consultation with experts, observations of practice). Accurate sample size calculations are important in ensuring study feasibility (i.e., the estimated sample sizes required can be obtained). Appropriate data collection methods are particularly crucial in medical record review studies; key considerations include pertinent variables, systematic subject identification, standardized data collection instruments, training of data collectors to minimize interrater variability, processes to ensure the accuracy and reliability of data, and blinded collection of the outcome variable. Checklists are provided to guide investigators in retrospective data collection, manuscript preparation, and decisions regarding authorship eligibility and sequencing. Conclusion. The quality of medical record review studies and the likelihood of their acceptance for publication can be improved through adherence to recommended standards of research design, data collection and analysis, ethical authorship, and manuscript preparation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1853-1864
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017


  • Manuscripts
  • Medical manuscripts
  • Publishing
  • Retrospective studies
  • Writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'A practical guide to conducting and writing medical record review studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this