Taking the Clinical Data Warehouse to Users

June 11, 2013

What makes the clinical data warehouse (CDW) attractive is its usability. The warehouse contains robust demographic data; everything from age, location, race, religion, to diagnoses and procedures. Researchers can drill down as deeply as they desire and review data from the entire state or from their own institutions. They can drag and drop data sets and download charts, all with just a few clicks.

“We developed the CDW thoughtfully and with input from our partners and experts like Oracle so that from day one it was workable for researches and clinical users. It’s also scalable so that we can easily add other South Carolina hospitals,” says Dr. Jihad Obeid, co-director of the MUSC Biomedical Informatics Center and SmartState Chair in Biomedical Informatics.

The ease of use is greatly appreciated, as researchers don’t have to invest time in learning a complicated system. After signing in through a secure login, researchers have immediate access to patient population data that has been de-identified to protect privacy. Training sessions on how to use the warehouse are under way at HSSC-supported organizations across the state.

The CDW can be expanded in a myriad of ways to improve the health outcomes and economy of South Carolina. Dr. Marvella Ford, a researcher at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, believes it will make South Carolina more competitive for federal research grants. These grants have the potential to pump millions of dollars into the state’s economy, create jobs and position the state as a leader.

“Currently, the process for preparing research grant applications is very tedious and time consuming. We have to hunt for information often going to different sources for supporting data. The clinical data warehouse will make it faster and easier to get the preliminary data required for grant applications. It will also support applications for multi-site studies, and encourage even greater collaboration between Clemson, MUSC, and USC researchers,” Dr. Ford said.

Currently, the warehouse contains data from Greenville Health System, Palmetto Health and MUSC. In 2014, HSSC will bring Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System online, followed by the other three HSSC member health systems, AnMed Health, McLeod Health and Self Regional Healthcare. The datasets will be expanded to include information on medication and laboratory tests. The CDW could also be used by the biomedical industry in order to conduct research to advance new drugs, devices or treatments. Such partnership could bring investments and new jobs to South Carolina.