Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health

DEWARS FAQ: Enterprise Research Data Warehouse

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What can DEWARS be used for?
USC research teams can use the research data warehouse for study planning (feasibility assessments, power analyses) through the i2b2 portal. The self-service website allows them to find the number of patients at CHLA and Keck that meet study inclusion and exclusion criteria. They can also extract identifiable patient information for screening or recruitment purposes if they have IRB approval to do so. Once the warehouse data has been validated for quality, research teams will be able to perform large-scale analyses on the data already existing in the warehouse (e.g., epidemiology studies).

How can it be used for study planning? 
Users can search health system data for de-identified counts of patients who meet certain inclusion and exclusion criteria (i.e., cohort discovery). The search tool is accessible via a web browser and is self-service. Instructions are available here.

Can research teams receive a list of eligible patients and their contact information, or is only generic information available (i.e., names and MRNs)?
Depending on the protocol’s IRB approval, study teams can get a specific patient list with contact information and specific EHR data elements.

What will be available in the future?
The DEWARS team is currently working on implementing the technology, workflows, and data cleansing procedures that will support the fully functional data warehouse and efficient services for researchers (target completion December 2016).

Integration of new data: The DEWARS staff will be responsible for the integration of data from new data sources, maintaining data quality and adjudicating data quality issues. This includes removing and merging duplicate records, and removing protected health information from records as required.  The DEWARS steering committee advises on how to prioritize researcher suggestions.

What is the technical infrastructure for DEWARS?
The technical infrastructure for DEWARS data warehousing is the Oracle Enterprise Health Analytics (EHA) platform, which supports complex multi-source data integration and analysis. A suite of reporting and visualization tools will allow investigators to effectively use data from the data warehouse. These applications include the Clinical Trial Management System, the i2b2 cohort discovery tool, and analytic applications.

Who supports DEWARS?
The service infrastructure consists of both centralized support staff and embedded staff in Keck, CHLA, and, in the future, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Embedded staff members are familiar with local practices, policies, and workflows and serve as informatics liaisons between the research community and the clinical operations community.