The Synthetic Health Data Generation to Accelerate PCOR project was launched in 2019 by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). This project is part of ONC’s portfolio of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) projects funded by the PCOR Trust Fund that is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). The project sought to enhance the ability of Synthea, a synthetic health data generator, to produce high quality synthetic health data and increase the number and variety of available synthetic health records. With specific focus on complementing the PCOR data infrastructure, the project was informed by ONC’s goals of fostering research, scientific knowledge, and innovation, and enhancing the nation’s health IT infrastructure.
This final report highlights how the project achieved its goal of supporting PCOR for use cases in the focus areas of patients with complex care needs, opioid use, and pediatric populations by enhancing Synthea’s ability to produce high quality synthetic health data and increasing the number and variety of Synthea-generated synthetic health records. The project also bolstered ongoing collaboration among the synthetic health data community, clinicians, and researchers, which is essential to outputting more accurate synthetic health data and advancing the use of synthetic health data to accelerate PCOR research and development of health IT. Further, the availability of reliable and robust synthetic data generation tools can safeguard patient privacy because they support appropriate stewardship practices in which real patient data is only accessed and used when necessary.