Article Title

VDW Data Sources: CHI Institute for Research and Innovation

Publication Date



Virtual Data Warehouse, standardization


Background/Aims: The Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) was created as a mechanism for producing comparable data across sites for purposes of proposing and conducting research. It is “virtual” in the sense that the data remain at the local sites rather than at a centralized data coordinating center.

Methods: At the core of the VDW are a series of standardized file definitions. Content areas and data elements that are commonly required for research studies are identified, and data dictionaries are created for each of the content areas, specifying a common format for each of the elements — variable name, label, description, code values and value labels. Local site programmers have mapped the data elements from their HMO’s data systems into this standardized set of variable definitions, names and codes as well as onto standardized SAS software file formats. This common structure of the VDW files enables a SAS analyst at one site to write one program to extract and/or analyze data at all participating sites.

Results: The CHI Institute for Research and Innovation (CIRI) local implementation of the VDW contains detailed medical information on Catholic Health Initiatives patients. The initial establishment of the VDW data files focused on the development of patient demographics, provider demographics, code mapping capabilities, utilization data, chem laboratory data, vital signs, social history and tumor data sets. Phase I also included the development of a non-VDW dataset for pathology labs. Phase II development focused on pharmacy, census, decedent and enrollment data as well as the non-VDW dataset for clinical notes.

Conclusion: This poster demonstrates the range of data sources used at CIRI to feed information into our local implementation of the VDW datasets.




July 6th, 2016


August 12th, 2016