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Leveraging the Capabilities of the FDA’s Sentinel System To Improve Kidney Care

    Basic Details

    The Sentinel System is a national electronic postmarketing resource established by the US Food and Drug Administration to support assessment of the safety and effectiveness of marketed medical products. It has built a large, multi-institutional, distributed data network that contains comprehensive electronic health data, covering about 700 million person-years of longitudinal observation time nationwide. With its sophisticated infrastructure and a large selection of flexible analytic tools, the Sentinel System permits rapid and secure analyses, while preserving patient privacy and health-system autonomy. The Sentinel System also offers enhanced capabilities, including accessing full-text medical records, supporting randomized clinical trials embedded in healthcare delivery systems, and facilitating effective collection of patient-reported data using mobile devices, among many other research programs. The nephrology research community can use the infrastructure, tools, and data that this national resource offers for evidence generation. This review summarizes the Sentinel System and its ability to rapidly generate high-quality, real-world evidence; discusses the program’s experience in, and potential for, addressing gaps in kidney care; and outlines avenues for conducting research, leveraging this national resource in collaboration with Sentinel investigators.


    Sruthi Adimadhyam, Erin F. Barreto, Noelle M. Cocoros, Sengwee Toh, Jeffrey S. Brown, Judith C. Maro, Jacqueline Corrigan-Curay, Gerald J. Dal Pan, Robert Ball, David Martin, Michael Nguyen, Richard Platt, Xiaojuan Li

    Corresponding Author

    Sruthi Adimadhyam; Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA