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Development of food allergy data dictionary: toward a data commons

Published: March 04, 2022

In spite of the importance of food allergy (FA) as a health condition, the terminology used to describe FA concepts and data elements is ambiguous and incomplete.

In a recent study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Sehgal et al, described the development and validation of the first generation of a FA data dictionary, as well as more general observations on the challenges encountered while mapping FA concepts to the existing clinical terminologies.

The FA data dictionary v1.0 contains 936 discrete FA concepts, grouped into 14 categories. The categories include both FA-specific concepts, such as foods triggering reactions and general healthcare categories, such as medications. While many FA concepts are included in existing clinical terminologies, some critical concepts are missing, such as “baked eggs” and an “oral immunotherapy” procedure. The FA data dictionary, available in a human-readable form, serves as a resource for the development of FA structured data entry forms, which can provide for uniformity and standardization of clinical data entry. Improving the granularity of data elements can facilitate complex and meaningful data queries to define FA phenotypes and cohorts for both research and quality improvement. The dictionary concepts can also provide a uniform variable set for FA clinical trials, enabling greater comparison across sites and across studies.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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