A Dimensional Bus model for integrating clinical and research data

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Abstract

Objectives

Many clinical research data integration platforms rely on the Entity–Attribute–Value model because of its flexibility, even though it presents problems in query formulation and execution time. The authors sought more balance in these traits.

Materials and Methods

Borrowing concepts from Entity–Attribute–Value and from enterprise data warehousing, the authors designed an alternative called the Dimensional Bus model and used it to integrate electronic medical record, sponsored study, and biorepository data. Each type of observational collection has its own table, and the structure of these tables varies to suit the source data. The observational tables are linked to the Bus, which holds provenance information and links to various classificatory dimensions that amplify the meaning of the data or facilitate its query and exposure management.

Results

The authors implemented a Bus-based clinical research data repository with a query system that flexibly manages data access and confidentiality, facilitates catalog search, and readily formulates and compiles complex queries.

Conclusion

The design provides a workable way to manage and query mixed schemas in a data warehouse.

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