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Clinical Data Warehouse (CDW)

Created in 2005, the Boston Medical Center (BMC) Clinical Data Warehouse (CDW) houses clinical information from the Health System’s EHR and other health system-related data streams to create a repository of data to support research.  

Data are collected and consolidated into the CDW on a regular schedule, but not in real time.   Data from many of the systems that contribute to the CDW can be cross-referenced or linked using unique patient identifiers.  BMC EHR data are pulled from Epic.  CHC data are pulled from OCHIN (a different version of Epic used by a national network of community health centers).  Available clinical data include patient demographics, data collected during health care encounters (in-patient admissions, offices visits, emergency department visits, surgical procedures, telemedicine, etc.), diagnoses, procedures, documentation flowsheets, lab values, medications, and clinical notes. 

Data Housed within the CDW
Figure 1. Data Housed within the CDW

In addition to data from Epic and OCHIN, the CDW includes data from various data systems that are no longer in active clinical use (legacy systems).  These legacy systems include PICIS (operating room data), IBEX (emergency department data), SDK (patient registration data), SCM (inpatient EHR data), Logician (outpatient EHR data), and EWS/IDX (patient scheduling data).  Legacy systems are not actively maintained; data from them can be cumbersome to extract and are not monitored for quality.

The CDW can provide count data for feasibility analysis or proposal/grant preparation without IRB approval (so called prep-to-research).  With IRB approval, analysts can provide extracts of individual-level data from the CDW for retrospective or prospective research studies.  For some data streams, investigators may need specific permission to access those data from the CDW, including OCHIN data from CHCs.