This tool allows you to query the Clinical Data Warehouse to get patient counts and demographic breakdowns.


i2b2 is a self-service, open-source research query tool of the CDW designed for querying de-identified, aggregated clinical data drawn from the entire system or from the approved researcher’s participating institution. i2b2’s purpose is to prepare investigators for research, whether that be writing a grant or submitting a data request, by providing an indication of sample size and study feasibility using CDW data. To be an approved researcher, you must be a faculty member, medical staff member, employee, or sponsored end-user who is engaged in the healthcare-related research activities of a participating institution. Approved researchers must agree to comply with a Data Use Agreement. This service is provided to all HSSC-supported member organizations at no additional fee as a standard CDW service.

How to Use i2b2

Access to de-identified patient counts is available to researchers through i2b2. Access to higher level data requires approval through the data request process.

Question What is i2b2? What does it stand for?

i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) is an NIH-funded National Center for Biomedical Computing based at Partners HealthCare System. It is a query tool that lets you find out what data is in the HSSC Clinical Data Warehouse. Visit for more information. There is an active i2b2 Academic

User's Group comprised of several dozen institutions

Question What exactly can I do with i2b2, as a researcher?

i2b2 was designed for cohort identification: How many patients had diagnosis X or procedure Y. It is meant for exploratory research, and it can help you design research questions, or help you make a case on a grant proposal that you would have access to sufficient data to give you statistical power to answer your research question.

Question What can't I do with i2b2?

i2b2 is not really suited for tasks like clinical trials, sample tracking, study administration or providing real-time alerts. Also, you can’t get a dataset directly from i2b2. Access to higher level data requires approval through the data request process.

Question Who can access and use i2b2?

If you are affiliated with any of our supported organizations, you are eligible to access i2b2 through HSSC. Please note that in order to use i2b2 you must consent to the Data Use Agreement (DUA).

Question What are the tools available in i2b2?

i2b2 has a few plug-ins which are available at go-live. There is a plug-in that shows demographic breakdown for one group of people, a plug-in that allows the user to compare demographic breakdowns for two different groups, and a timeline function that shows event occurrence over time for a cohort.

Question What is the process for getting a dataset that I can analyze?

To receive a dataset, you start with the submission of an electronic data request. Once a data request has been submitted, you will be contacted for a  consultation with an HSSC honest broker who will help you prepare your request for review by the Data Request Review Committee (DRRC). After approval of a data request by the DRRC you will be provided an approval letter to submit to your institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). After the project is approved by your institution’s IRB and there are no further changes, the HSSC honest broker will work with you in receiving the dataset. 

Data Request Process Diagram

Question How much does it cost to get data from the CDW?

There is no cost.

Question Can I request data that is not in i2b2? For example, I need some identifying information, is that ok?

Yes, there is more information in the CDW than just the part that is loaded into i2b2. You can check out the CDW Data Dictionary here. Note that it has more data elements than the i2b2 data dictionary.

Question How can I learn how to use i2b2?

HSSC offers a free online Data Tools and Resources (DaRT) for Clinical Research Webinar that includes i2b2 training. You can sign up for the next webinar here.

Question Who can I contact to schedule DaRT Training at my institution?

Jordan Brittingham, Biostatistician –
Shalon Howard, Clinical Research Coordinator –
Health Sciences South Carolina: 803-576-5926

Request Information

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