|Navigating the Research & Data Management Process|
The Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) can help you gain access to electronic health record (EHR) data for research or other authorized purposes from WMed Health and affiliate sites. After receipt of IRB approval or exemption, the VDW provides data with appropriate levels of de-identification and in a secure manner that protects patients’ privacy. The VDW will help you be sure your data request complies with all federal, state, and WMed regulations.
To begin the research development process and consult with WMed's research support services, please complete the WMed Project Request Triage Form.
After submission, a meeting will be set up to brainstorm or kickoff your research or quality improvement project.
Following the submission of the Project Request and Triage Form, a consultation is required with the VDW’s Data Manager who can help you understand what data are available and whether or not the available data can answer your question.
Complete this form to begin a VDW data request:
After submission, your request will be reviewed by a VDW team member who will contact you to set up a consultation and start preparing your data for procurement.
To help ensure data security and patient privacy, investigators will be asked to complete a brief data management and security training module, prior to accessing their data. Click on this link to complete the training:
- What data fields are available in the VDW?
The VDW is currently able to access data from WMed Health and affiliate sites (Bronson Healthcare, Ascension Borgess, Grace Health). For these patients, fields within the Epic or Cerner EHR can be accessed.
Patient Data Encounter Data Demographics Diagnoses Medical History Procedures Surgical History Orders Problem List Vitals Immunizations Labs Vital Status Medications Providers Locations
- What types of requests can be made?
Requests can be submitted and processed for many different purposes. The intended purpose of the data query project determines the approval process for the project.
This type of project includes quality and evidence-based questions, aimed at improving practices and processes within the institution.
Project Feasibility or Preparatory to Research
This type of request is used to assess the feasibility of a proposed research project, for the development of a grant application or protocol, or for the identification of potential research subjects. The investigator only uses the data for project feasibility and agrees not to publish any findings.
De-Identified Data Set
For de-identified data requests, all 18 HIPAA-defined identifying elements will be removed (Safe Harbor method), and dates will be shifted to prevent the ability to identify individual patients. The subjects will be given an anonymous identifier and the data warehouse team will not keep a key to re-identify subjects. This means no future updates to the patient information will be available.
Coded Data Set
A coded data set has the same requirements as the de-identified data set; however, the data warehouse team will keep a key between the anonymous identifiers and the patient. The key will not be shared with the investigators.
With this type of data set, there is the potential to receive updated data.
Limited Data Set
Under HIPAA, a limited data set, can include dates and zip codes but all other HIPAA-defined identifying elements are removed. This type of project may require an IRB approval and a data use agreement.
Identified Data Set
Identifiable data contains HIPAA-defined identifying elements. IRB approval must be demonstrated prior to the release of an identified data set. The IRB may require patient consent prior to the release of their information.
- How long does it take to get data?
The length of time from request to data procurement will vary depending on the complexity of the project. Once approved, plan to allow a minimum of 2-4 weeks for most data set requests to be completed. The VDW team will keep you updated throughout the data procurement process and notify the investigators if unanticipated problems or delays occur. Data from affiliate sites may take additional time.
- How do I access my data?
Once approved a secured server workspace will be created for the named investigator(s) to access and process the data set. The investigator agrees not to copy any of the data set out of this secure work area.
- How long do I keep my data?
Data should only be kept for the length of time listed in your project protocol. The VDW Data Manager will check on the disposition of your data every two years. If you have completed your manuscript or presentation and the data is no longer needed, it will be deleted from all tracked locations.
- What is the cost for data?
Currently, there is no charge for this service. However, the VDW team appreciates recognition and support from inclusion in investigator grant proposals.
- How do I acknowledge the data warehouse in a grant or manuscript?
Thank you for acknowledging the data warehouse in your document. We recommend using the following language depending on the type of submission.
The data in this study will be provided by the WMed Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) maintained by the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. The VDW is approved by the WMed Institutional Review Board (IRB) to operate as a resource for the support of WMed research projects. VDW data is procured from the [site] electronic health record (EHR) and includes [description of the data provided].
The data in this study will be provided by the WMed Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) maintained by the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. The VDW is approved by the WMed Institutional Review Board (IRB) to operate as a resource for the support of WMed research projects.
The data in this study were provided by the WMed Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) maintained and funded by the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
- Who can I contact if I have questions?
For any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.