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Observation notes related to a measurement? OBSERVATION or NOTE?

We’re transforming MEASUREMENT data into OMOP from our source system (that is data from a collection of various systems spanning last 50 yrs). We have a fair amount of “observation notes” associated with vital signs and lab measurements. I’m currently focused on the vital signs measurements. The associated notes are free text and can be quite a wide spectrum of things. From how the measure was taken on one end of the spectrum, all the way to a specific note about a specific patient or provider on the other end of the spectrum.

I want to preserve this information, but questioning if it has a home in the OMOP model or should be ancillary. If they do belong in the model, I’d initially considered recording them as OBSERVATIONs. But now I’m trying to understand if the NOTEs table is a candidate for these data. (Some of them are long-ish text).

The question is, does this belong in the model, and if so in the OBSERVATION table or NOTE table? On first reading it seemed the NOTE table was intended more to capture clinical documents and not really just measurement notes.

Hello @jefmckenzie,

If you have a use case, then bring them in. If not, leave them in your source until you have a use case. If your use case is “someone might want to have them”, that’s not a use case for OMOP CDM. If someone needs to dig that deeply into the source data, then they should directly query the source. OMOP CDM data are ready for analysis. That being said, I would use this field to help clean the data, check to see if any notes give an indication if a measurement was erroneous in some way.

The NOTE table is the place for all notes regardless of provenance of the data.


Thank you @MPhilofsky! That clears it up a bit. The usecase for that kind of thing right now is the “might want to have them”. It’s something I can definitely defer until I discover a usecase supporting it. Knowing where it should go settles my mind and I can document it and move on. Thanks again!