The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) maintains a central data repository with health information from the electronic medical records of over 9 million Veterans in the United States. Data fields include (but are not limited to) age, gender, race, ethnicity, zip code, dates of outpatient and inpatient encounters, conditions, procedures, lab results, vital signs, medications, prescription refills, radiology reports, costs, vital status, location of care, and national provider identification number. Data files from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including the Medicare Chronic Conditions Warehouse, are also available. Access to these databases has substantially improved during the past several years making it possible for both VA and non-VA investigators to use them for clinical research projects.
The primary purpose of the VA Data Core is to facilitate access to VHA data for clinical research and improve the productivity of UCSF investigators. The VA Data Core:
- Provides consultation regarding available data.
- Facilitates necessary paperwork and approvals.
- Ensures that use of VHA data meets all regulatory requirements.
- Assists with identifying, extracting, and merging variables of interest.
Please note that obtaining access to VA data may require up to 40 hours of your time over a period of 3 to 6 months prior to starting any data analysis. In addition, you will need to perform your own data management and analysis. Although the VA data core can help you identify and extract data fields of interest (e.g., age, ICD-9 code, lab values, vital status), it does not provide data cleaning (e.g., eliminate illogical data), perform analyses (e.g., calculate average age of patients with diagnosis of interest) or run statistical models (e.g., evaluate association between lab value and mortality). Please feel free to contact Melanie Arenson with any questions.