Background Here we describe the Systematically Tabulated Outcomes Research Matrix (STORM) method to generate research questions from pre-existing databases with the aim of improving patient outcomes. Materials and Methods STORM can be applied to a database by tabulating its variables into a matrix of independent variables (y-axis) and dependent variables (x-axis) and then applying each unique pairing of an independent and dependent variable to a patient population to generate potentially meaningful research questions. Results To demonstrate this methodology and establish proof-of-principle, STORM was applied on a small scale to the National Trauma Data Bank and generated at least seven clinically meaningful research questions. Conclusion When coupled with rigorous clinical judgment, the STORM approach complements the traditional method of hypothesis formation and can be generalized to outcomes research using registry databases across different medical specialties.
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