The HMO Research Network (HMORN) Virtual Data Warehouse (VDW) is a public, non-proprietary, research-focused data model implemented at 17 health care systems across the United States. The HMORN has created a governance structure and specified policies concerning the VDW's content, development, implementation, and quality assurance. Data extracted from the VDW have been used by thousands of studies published in peer-reviewed journal articles. Advances in software supporting care delivery and claims processing and the availability of new data sources have greatly expanded the data available for research, but substantially increased the complexity of data management. The VDW data model incorporates software and data advances to ensure that comprehensive, up-to-date data of known quality are available for research. VDW governance works to accommodate new data and system complexities. This article highlights the HMORN VDW data model, its governance principles, data content, and quality assurance procedures. Our goal is to share the VDW data model and its operations to those wishing to implement a distributed interoperable health care data system.
Keywords: Data Reuse; Health Information Technology; Informatics; Research Networks; Standardized Data Collection.