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Warehouses Episode 2: Using a butter knife to slice bread

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The second episode of the Clinical Data Warehouses Series looks at how the purpose of clinical data warehouses is fundamentally different to that of other data warehouses.

There are hundreds of uses for a butter knife (screwdriver, hammer, spreading butter on toast) but it might not be the right tool for every job you (or actually your users)need to do. It might have tick-marks next to all the right features, but is it delivering these features in ways that all clinicians can use?

  • Tools that are specific to healthcare problems don’t overwhelm the user with SQL queries, Python scripts and APIs. The best tools will have these available for advanced users but they will also have simple interfaces that allow clinicians to ask questions easily themselves and have them answered quickly, without hours (or sometimes weeks) of training.
  • All clinicians are familiar with clinical studies, only a few are familiar with relational databases. If you want your clinical data warehouse to appeal to many users, make sure it includes specific tools for conducting clinical studies, and that follow best practice in medical research.
  • Clinical studies follow standard methodologies that need to be replicated over different data-sets. Not all tools easily separate the methods from the data to facilitate collaboration and replicability.

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