J Am Med Inform Assoc 20:563-567 doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001302
  • Case report

A centralized research data repository enhances retrospective outcomes research capacity: a case report

  1. Chunhua Weng2,3
  1. 1Department of Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  3. 3The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  4. 4School of Nursing, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Gregory William Hruby, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, 622 West 168 Street, VC-5, New York, NY 10032, USA; ghr7001{at}
  • Received 27 August 2012
  • Revised 24 October 2012
  • Accepted 9 December 2012
  • Published Online First 15 January 2013


This paper describes our considerations and methods for implementing an open-source centralized research data repository (CRDR) and reports its impact on retrospective outcomes research capacity in the urology department at Columbia University. We performed retrospective pretest and post-test analyses of user acceptance, workflow efficiency, and publication quantity and quality (measured by journal impact factor) before and after the implementation. The CRDR transformed the research workflow and enabled a new research model. During the pre- and post-test periods, the department's average annual retrospective study publication rate was 11.5 and 25.6, respectively; the average publication impact score was 1.7 and 3.1, respectively. The new model was adopted by 62.5% (5/8) of the clinical scientists within the department. Additionally, four basic science researchers outside the department took advantage of the implemented model. The average proximate time required to complete a retrospective study decreased from 12 months before the implementation to <6 months after the implementation. Implementing a CRDR appears to be effective in enhancing the outcomes research capacity for one academic department.

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