A web-based data visualization tool for the MIMIC-II database

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 Feb 4;16:15. doi: 10.1186/s12911-016-0256-9.


Background: Although MIMIC-II, a public intensive care database, has been recognized as an invaluable resource for many medical researchers worldwide, becoming a proficient MIMIC-II researcher requires knowledge of SQL programming and an understanding of the MIMIC-II database schema. These are challenging requirements especially for health researchers and clinicians who may have limited computer proficiency. In order to overcome this challenge, our objective was to create an interactive, web-based MIMIC-II data visualization tool that first-time MIMIC-II users can easily use to explore the database.

Results: The tool offers two main features: Explore and Compare. The Explore feature enables the user to select a patient cohort within MIMIC-II and visualize the distributions of various administrative, demographic, and clinical variables within the selected cohort. The Compare feature enables the user to select two patient cohorts and visually compare them with respect to a variety of variables. The tool is also helpful to experienced MIMIC-II researchers who can use it to substantially accelerate the cumbersome and time-consuming steps of writing SQL queries and manually visualizing extracted data.

Conclusions: Any interested researcher can use the MIMIC-II data visualization tool for free to quickly and conveniently conduct a preliminary investigation on MIMIC-II with a few mouse clicks. Researchers can also use the tool to learn the characteristics of the MIMIC-II patients. Since it is still impossible to conduct multivariable regression inside the tool, future work includes adding analytics capabilities. Also, the next version of the tool will aim to utilize MIMIC-III which contains more data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics Applications*