Data Warehouse Case Study

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Case Study: A Data Warehouse for an Academic Medical Center
Jonathan S. Einbinder, MD, MPH; Kenneth W. Scully, MS; Robert D. Pates, PhD; Jane R. Schubart, MBA, MS; Robert E. Reynolds, MD, DrPH
ABSTRACT The clinical data repository (CDR) is a frequently updated relational data warehouse that provides users with direct access to detailed, flexible, and rapid retrospective views of clinical, administrative, and financial patient data for the University of Virginia Health System. This article presents a case study of the CDR, detailing its five-year history and focusing on the unique role of data warehousing in an academic medical center. Specifically, the CDR must support multiple missions, including research and education, in addition to
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There has also been increasing interest in using the CDR to serve a broader audience than researchers and to support management and administrative functions—“to meet the challenge of providing a way for anyone with a need to know—at every level of the organization—access to accurate and timely data necessary to support effective decision making, clinical research, and process improvement.”4 In the area of education, the CDR has become a core teaching resource for the Department of Health Evaluation Science’s master’s program and for the School of Nursing. Students use the CDR to understand and master informatics issues such as data capture, vocabularies, and coding, as well as to perform

Case Study: A Data Warehouse for an Academic Medical Center


exploratory analyses of healthcare questions. Starting in Spring 2001, the CDR will also be introduced into the university’s undergraduate medical curriculum.

System Description
Following is a brief overview of the CDR application as it exists at the University of Virginia. System Architecture. The CDR is a relational data warehouse that resides on a Dell PowerEdge 1300 (Dual Intel 400MHz processors, 512MB RAM) running the Linux operating system and Sybase 11.9.1 relational database management system. For storage, the system uses a Dell Powervault 201S 236GB RAID Disk Array. As of
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