Overview of global real-world data sources for pediatric pharmacoepidemiologic research

Gerold T. Wharton, Claudia Becker, Dimitri Bennett, Mehmet Burcu, Greta Bushnell, Carmen Ferrajolo, Sigal Kaplan, Ann W. McMahon, Naimisha Movva, Sudha R. Raman, Oliver Scholle, Mina Suh, Jenny W. Sun, Daniel B. Horton

Publication Date: 09/10/2023



Given limited information available on real-world data (RWD) sources with pediatric populations, this study describes features of globally available RWD sources for pediatric pharmacoepidemiologic research.


An online questionnaire about pediatric RWD sources and their attributes and capabilities was completed by members and affiliates of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology and representatives of nominated databases. All responses were verified by database representatives and summarized.


Of 93 RWD sources identified, 55 unique pediatric RWD sources were verified, including data from Europe (47%), United States (38%), multiregion (7%), Asia-Pacific (5%), and South America (2%). Most databases had nationwide coverage (82%), contained electronic health/medical records (47%) and/or administrative claims data (42%) and were linkable to other databases (65%). Most (71%) had limited outside access (e.g., by approval or through local collaborators); only 10 (18%) databases were publicly available. Six databases (11%) reported having >20 million pediatric observations. Most (91%) included children of all ages (birth until 18th birthday) and contained outpatient medication data (93%), while half (49%) contained inpatient medication data. Many databases captured vaccine information for children (71%), and one-third had regularly updated data on pediatric height (31%) and weight (33%). Other pediatric data attributes captured include diagnoses and comorbidities (89%), lab results (58%), vital signs (55%), devices (55%), imaging results (42%), narrative patient histories (35%), and genetic/biomarker data (22%).


This study provides an overview with key details about diverse databases that allow researchers to identify fit-for-purpose RWD sources suitable for pediatric pharmacoepidemiologic research.


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