Weill Cornell Medical College investigators can request both inpatient and outpatient electronic health record data by submitting a report request. Data from information systems and resources serving specific clinical areas that may store data outside the Epic EHR —such as anesthesiology, oncology, pathology, pulmonary, radiology, and others—are also available for request. Similarly, metadata, logs, and other complex data sets may be available in special circumstances. WCM investigators can additionally request data from NYP/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NYP Medical Group, with an approved collaborator. Depending on institutional review board (IRB) approval, investigators can obtain identified, limited, or de-identified data sets. Honest Broker services are also available which may simplify access to more sensitive data sets. For more information about subject recruitment for clinical trials, please contact the Joint Clinical Trials Office.
Processes for requesting these data involve working with a data analyst to define specific elements of interest. This step is critically important and often overlooked. It may appear to slow things down but, in fact, dramatically speeds up requests by ensuring the correct data is requested to answer the desired research question. Fulfillment of data requests typically requires multiple iterations between an investigator and data analyst to define report requirements. Investigators can request data one time or on a recurring basis. Most data are available 24 to 48 hours after posting in the EHR. Typically investigators receive report results in a file readable by analytical software such as Microsoft Excel and SAS. There is no charge for data itself. However, the amount of data transformation and other services required to access the data may incur charges that are dependent on the task. Researchers are strongly advised to build these charges into the budget similar to fees for biostatisticians.
TRAC – Request Eligibility
Some report requests are subject to review by the Tripartite Request Assessment Committee (TRAC), which reviews, approves, and assigns requests for data that are subject to the Data Sharing Agreement executed between Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), and Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC).
Through TRAC, investigators can obtain data from the shared Epic enterprise EHR as well as other systems (e.g., clinical, billing) across the three institutions. In reviewing and approving a data request, TRAC members consider technical feasibility, regulatory approval, and other factors prior to assignment to an analytics team (e.g., Epic, ARCH) for data extraction and delivery. Notably, TRAC is a review and approval process that implements policy approved by the Alignment Committee on Oversight of Requests for Data (ACORD), which the tripartite data sharing agreement of WCM, NYP, and Columbia established. TRAC does not execute requests for data, but rather reviews and assigns them.
Not all requests for electronic health record data or patient data require TRAC review. Generally, requests that TRAC must approve include those requests that involve data generated by two or more of the three institutions (WCM, NYP, and CUIMC). This includes but is not limited to:
- Collaborative analysis of data from multiple sites
- Requests where data will be presented broken down by hospital campus or site
- Requests for data from one institution by representatives from another, e.g.
- Requests from WCM/CUIMC researchers for data from clinical care generated within NYP facilities
- Requests from NYP administrative staff for data from Weill Cornell Medicine or ColumbiaDoctors
- Requests from CUIMC researchers for data from WCM or vice versa
- Requests for data from multiple institutions where data will be sent to an external entity
Requests that involve sharing data from NYP outside the boundaries of the three institutions may also be subject to review by NYP’s External Data Use and Sharing (EDUS) committee.
TRAC – Timelines
TRAC reviews requests on a weekly basis, and since participation from all three institutions is critical, approval can take 3-4 weeks to complete. Reporting groups include but are not limited to WCM Research Informatics, CUIMC Department of Biomedical Informatics, and NYP Clinical IT Shared Service (aka Epic).
Once a request has been approved and assigned, delivery timelines may vary based on the assigned team’s availability and priorities. For TRAC request-related questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.