November 24, 2020

A deep dive into KPWHRI’s Virtual Data Warehouse

Experts in health data discuss a widely used data model — its origin, organization, and current applications

Studies from Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute often use thousands — sometimes millions — of data points. Clinical data used for research might include information about disease diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes for a large sample of patients, with their identifying information removed. Researchers frequently use other types of data to understand the study sample in general, such as the distribution by age, sex, and racial/ethnic identification.

If you’ve ever wondered about the diverse types of data used in health research, this video can help. The featured KPWHRI experts — Yonah Karp, data projects and programs manager; Tyler Ross, director of data programming and information technology; Al Derus, programmer analyst; John Weeks, data warehouse administrator; and Roy Pardee, data architect — describe how they assemble, curate, and safely store data for research.

Central to this work is the Virtual Data Warehouse that KPWHRI established decades ago with Health Care Systems Research Network partners. KPWHRI continues to maintain this resource. Major data initiatives that use the VDW as a model include the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network PCORnet and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Sentinel System for assessing safety of approved drugs, vaccines, and medical devices.

Questions answered in the video include:

  • What are virtual data warehouses and how are they used?
  • What are the sources and types of data in the KPWHRI, Kaiser Permanente Washington, and Kaiser Permanente data warehouses?
  • How do researchers work with VDW data?

Learn more about the Health Care Systems Research Network VDW from this open access paper and about the HCSRN at their website.  

Research Networks


HCSRN's 25th anniversary promotes enduring partnerships

Attendees of the 2019 Health Care Systems Research Network conference discussed data sharing, gender equality, new papers, and much more.



PCORnet Bariatric Study

KPWHRI researchers are providing real-world data to help make informed decisions about bariatric surgery.

drug safety


FDA to expand drug-safety monitoring capacity

New funding will establish an innovation center, to be led by Harvard Pilgrim in partnership with KPWHRI and others.