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New workgroup rehabilitation

Dear OHDSI colleagues,

If you are interested in working in rehabilitation1 related research in the OHDSI community, please follow up here. We are interested in building a community working on data driven research in rehabilitation care. You can find a description of the working group and it’s aims below. So please join us and let’s work together!

An increasing wealth of data on rehabilitation healthcare and a person’s functioning is becoming available. These data are largely still unstructured and unavailable for large-scale analysis. Leveraging these data for international research can further personalize evidence-based rehabilitation care, for instance, by developing person-centered prediction and/or stratification models. However, there are major barriers to overcome before rehabilitation data can be used for big data analyses. The challenges stem from considerable heterogeneity within rehabilitation datasets, comprising a diverse array of intervention types, and outcome measures. Furthermore, the notable variations within the population receiving rehabilitation care at various stages in their healthcare journey contribute to this complexity. This complex interplay in the data and relationships between variables presents a daunting challenge to the application of these data in comprehensive large-scale analyses. The substantial variability in datasets within the rehabilitation domain underscores the need for harmonizing rehabilitation data. The OHDSI CDM can create a breakthrough in this.
The OHDSI approach to learning from a large distributed dataset is very promising for rehabilitation medicine. However, until today, little work has been done to map rehabilitation-specific datasets on OHDSI, and little work has been done to answer rehabilitation-specific questions with existing datasets within the OHDSI and EHDEN data networks.
The current common data model and standard OHDSI analytics have been predominantly developed from a pharmaceutical and medical devices perspective. Implementing the OMOP-CDM on rehabilitation-specific data, and answering rehabilitation-specific research questions, has several challenges.

The goal of the OHDSI Rehabilitation workgroup is to establish a network of OHDSI enthusiasts interested in:
• Sharing and developing knowledge on rehabilitation-specific OMOP-CDM mapping:
• Discussing rehabilitation-specific data analytic challenges
• Stimulating the addition of new OMOP-ed data sets
• Expand the ICF vocabulary for representing rehabilitation measurement and treatment to enable capturing in OMOP-CDM

What makes rehabilitation different? What are the challenges?
In the OHDSI community, there is little experience in the OMOP process with mapping rehabilitation-specific:
• Outcome domains: Typical outcome domains of rehabilitation include PROMS, PREMS, clinical tests, physical examinations, functioning data (cfr. ICF), etc.
• Outcome timing: Some outcomes in rehabilitation take a long time to reach and can be influenced by growing up or aging.
• Rehabilitation-relevant environmental or personal factors: e.g., home situation, relational status, profession.
• Rehabilitation-specific Treatments:
o Rehabilitation interventions are usually complex (e.g., botulinum toxin treatment together with physical therapy), long-term (e.g., three months of physical therapy) and collaborative (requiring active participation by or interaction with the patient (or caregiver).
o Patients are likely to receive multiple treatments that are not a single complex treatment.
o Some treatments may be difficult to classify in a common data model (e.g., there are many different ‘physical therapy’ treatments).

In the OHDSI community, there is little experience with performing clinical rehabilitation studies:
• What rehabilitation-relevant data is already available with current OHDSI members?
• How do we analyze the available data when data are mapped?
o Is it possible to define the relevant phenotypes for analysis? E.g., some treatments may target patients with specific symptoms more than specific diagnoses.
o Is it possible to define treatments clearly in the data analysis?

On behalf of Prof. Dr. Selles, Prof. Dr. Negrini, Dr. Hoogeboom, Dr. Kiekens, Dr. Hoogendam and Dr. Janssen

  1. “In a health care context,” rehabilitation is defined as a “multimodal, person-centered, collaborative process” (Intervention-general), including interventions targeting a person’s “capacity (by addressing body structures, functions, and activities/participation) and/or contextual factors related to performance” (Intervention-specific) with the goal of “optimizing” the “functioning” (Outcome) of “persons with health conditions currently experiencing disability or likely to experience disability, or persons with disability” (Population).

Good Morning!
My name is Libby Bergman and I’m a PhD candidate at Texas Woman’s University. I’ve been working with a completed longitudinal database at a large health system that includes PROM, surgical, and demographic data in addition to psychosocial measures and comorbidities.
I’m working with an interdisciplinary team lead by an orthopedic surgeon to develop a new version of this database which includes physical therapy measures and imaging data. My dissertation will use this observational data to develop prediction models to differentiate subtypes of nonarthritic hip pain. My hope has always been to be in line with other databases nationally and internationally for larger analyses so I’m very excited to hear of this workgroup. I’m very interested in contributing and I’m looking forward to learning more.




Thanks for starting this initiative - thrilled to know there are others interested in rehabilitation research in the OHDSI community. I’m a speech-language pathologist (SLT for the europeans here) by training with clinical and research expertise in neurorehabilitation (stroke, TBI, Parkinson’s disease, ALS etc) now working with @krfeeney at Northeastern University’s OHDSI Center. I’d love to contribute to the group.


Hi All.
I’m Beatrice Sankah, a Ghanaian physiotherapy researcher with interest in rehabilitation, evidence- based practice and long term Musculoskeletal conditions. My specific interest on rehabilitation is working towards how lower middle income countries such as Ghana can meet the Rehabilitation 2030 agenda and beyond through practice, research and education. Specifically on home grown evidence generation on rehabilitation to support global data.

I’m happy to be part of this Group and look forward to what we can do and achieve together.

#Rehabilitation #Rehab2030 #RehabinGhana #RehabinLMICs


Hi, I’m active in MS rehabilitation and published on taxonomies for physiotherapy ingredients as well as willingness to contribute to shared databases. At UHasselt, we also have MS Data Connect. We may set up initiatives to have standardized assessment methodologies in MS rehabilitation centers within RIMS, the EU network for MS rehabilitation. If this is resonating with the goals of the OHDSI, I would be happy to explore participation. Peter


Good morning,

I am Joost van Wijchen and working in Western Norway, Bergen. This initiative interests me and would be happy to explore participation. I am part of the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and I believe this will be of interest for our physiotherapy team, next to the data-scientists here and the regional healthcare centers. Looking forward to follow up.

best wishes



Hi Esther and all, thank you for this initiative. I am not active in rehabilitation but I do work on outcome monitoring and harmonization of outcome measures (PROMS particularly). As you know, I am also involved in initiatives focusing on health and functioning (information) - this working group could help a lot in finding ways to represent such data in OMOP CDM. Sebastiaan

1 Like

Great initiative. I am an Associate Prof in Physical Medicine and Rehab based in Baltimore, MD, USA. Would love to participate in this group. - Krishnaj


Hi All - Really excited to learn about this initiative. I’d love to get involved! I’m an occupational therapist in the US in a population health research department. My research is mainly focused on perioperative orthopedic care right now, but my rehabilitation research interests are much broader. I would love to brainstorm how we can leverage clinical informatics to improve care processes and outcomes despite some of the challenges identified in the initial post. Best- Brocha


Dear Libby,

Thank you for your reply. I think your data very much fits within our vision for this workgroup. We are currently planning an exploratory meeting with all interested people. We would like to invite you to this meeting. Could you send me your email adress at esther.rc.janssen@radboudumc.nl so I can invite you.

Kind regards,


Dear interested OHDSI members,

Thank you for your reply. We think all your input would be valuable to the working group. We are currently planning an exploratory meeting with all interested people. We would like to invite you to this meeting. Could you send me your email adress at esther.rc.janssen@radboudumc.nl so I can invite you?

Kind regards,


Hi Esther and team,

Many thanks for setting up this forum and for the open invitation to participate.
I’m interested in how rehab information is documented in healthcare records and how we can use existing datasets for research.

I’m based in London (UK) in a large healthcare Trust and affiliated university with access to the electronic healthcare records mapped to OHDSI.

Very best wishes,


Dear Sebastiaan, Thank you for your input. Can you remind my or point me to some information about this working group? I can’t seem to find it in the list. Ruud

Dear colleagues,

We recently inquired on the OHDSI forum and LinkedIn who would be interested in participating in an OHDSI workgroup on rehabilitation. We have received a lot of positive responses, which we are delighted with. Therefore, we would like to take the next step and organize a first meeting to get to know each other and establish what a future OHDSI workgroup might look like.

We have scheduled a meeting on February 15 from 4.30 to 5.30 p.m. CET (Amsterdam) time. The goal of this meeting is to explore merits of creating an ODHSI rehabilitation workgroup. In this meeting, we would like all participants to introduce themselves briefly, summarize their experience or ambition with OHDSI, whether they already have any data available mapped onto the OMOP CDM format, and which specific challenges they identify in mapping or analyzing OMOP-CDM data for rehabilitation-specific projects. Based on this, we can discuss what future steps are needed.


  • Welcome
  • Individual member introduction (please limit yourself/your group to 1 minute)
  • Discussion on merits of potential rehabilitation workgroup

If you are willing to participate in this meeting, please email Esther Janssen Esther.RC.Janssen@radboudumc.nl. If you are unable to join but would like to receive the minutes or the recording, please mail Esther (Esther.Rc.Janssen@radboudumc.nl).

Best regards,

on behalf of Thomas Hoogeboom, Ruud Selles and myself


My name is Youngseok Kim. I’m an M.D. physiatrist and a graduate student in medical informatics. While my current focus is cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation in our rehabilitation center, I have also gained experience in numerous neurorehabilitation cases. I’m currently struggling with utilizing the CDM format in my research, but it wasn’t easy to handle rehab-related data in OMOP.
Although I have recently joined this group and still feel somewhat weak in CDM-related topics and skills, I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t mind me joining this working group.

Best wishes, Youngseok


Hi is this rehab working group still active? If so, when is the next meeting? We are currently working on mapping Rehab data to OMOP at a cancer center. Thanks! Sarah