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Enterprise Data Warehouse

Northwestern Medicine Enterprise Data Warehouse (NMEDW) was designed create a single, comprehensive and integrated repository of all clinical and research data sources on the campus to facilitate research, clinical quality, healthcare operations and medical education.


The NMEDW currently stores observations on more than 6.6 million distinct patients. Each day, it loads more than 2.8 billion new data elements from 142 separate sources, including electronic health records, pathology data from the hospital and research laboratories, biomarker data from research databases and research transactional data from our eIRB and other institutional systems. The NMEDW has a mature data steward model, supported by an electronic workflow that enables rapid review of data requests.

The following graphic is a representation of high-level content areas, though the NMEDW has considerably more data and loads more systems on a regular basis:


It’s important to note that the older data are not always of the highest utility, and we strongly recommend that investigators who plan to use the NMEDW in their research contact the NMEDW prior to grant submission.

Using the NMEDW for Research

The primary ways to use the NMEDW for research are:

  • i2b2 Feasibility Query Tool: A self-service tool for investigators to explore cohort availability. 
  • NMEDW Data Analysts: Use the research data request form to contact the analyst team. The fee to work with an NMEDW analyst is $79/hour, and the average charge for a research request is $900 (12 hours).
  • NMEDW Pilot Data Program: A grant that allows young investigators to obtain feasibility or early pilot data in order to seek sustained funding.
  • Powerusers:Individuals who have skills using advanced database languages can apply via email to become a Poweruser and be granted direct access to the NMEDW.

See the frequently asked questions below, and review our Permissible Use Policy for more information.

Does the NMEDW team have a capacity to handle all of these data requests?The research analyst team has been expanded to meet the demand of this policy and can be further expanded to meet demand as needed.How long does it take to get data from the NMEDW?The time it takes to get data out of the EDW depends on a number of variables including how complex the request is, the availability of the requester, the requester’s knowledge of the source data and how many requests are in the EDW queue. The EDW team strives to have a one-week turnaround for all requests, but because of the influx in requests driven by the new policy, the current request queue is closer to two to three weeks. A typical request requires eight to 12 hours of analyst time, spread out over a week.How much does it cost to get data from the NMEDW?An EDW analyst will work with you to provide an estimate for your specific request. The average request takes eight to 12 hours at $75 per hour.I don't have the funds necessary to pay an EDW analyst for this data, especially when I, one of my staff or a medical student could abstract from the EMR at no cost. How am I supposed to pay for this?In the case of prep-to-research, the EDW Pilot Data Program is one option sponsored by the Dean's office. For larger projects, the NUCATS voucher may be appropriate./resources/data-science-and-informatics/nmedw/nmedw-accordion-blockFSM-NUCATS-V4nmedw-accordion-block
Participating Institutions: