Retrospective medical record research: Reflections of a unsponsored researcher.

Bature, Fidelia; Vseteckova, Jitka; Pang, Dong; Pappas, Yannis and Guinn, Barbara (2019). Retrospective medical record research: Reflections of a unsponsored researcher. BJSTR Biomed J Sci & Tech Res, 21(4) pp. 16080–16086.



This article is a reflective narrative by the author following the successful completion of a doctoral thesis involving the analysis of primary care data. The aim of the study was to identify patterns in signs and symptoms preceding a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Here, we discuss the challenges of conducting research using the patient medical health records as a non-sponsored researcher. The narrative explores the experiences of undertaking practice recruitment, issues that arose around access to data and the requirement for stakeholder commitment, with proposals for other similar projects that attempt to undertake research using patients’ data. The Gibbs reflective cycle was adopted in this narrative. This model encourages a clear description of events, analysis of personal feelings, evaluation of the experience, conclusions as to the options that were considered and actions to take if faced with the same study methods (involving primary care practitioners and/or the review of patient records). It also allows a structured reflection while simultaneously discussing the barriers and facilitators to undertaking a retrospective medical record research. The researcher also proposes some recommendation(s) to overcoming barriers to recruitment in primary care.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions