Recent healthcare policies have influenced the manner in which patient data is handled in research projects, and the regulations concerning protected health information have become significantly tighter. Thus, new procedures are needed to facilitate research while protecting the confidentiality of patient data and ensuring the integrity of clinical work in the expanding environment of electronic files and databases. We have addressed this problem in a university hospital setting by developing the Tampere Research Archival System (TARAS), an extensive data warehouse for research purposes. This dynamic system includes numerous integrated and pseudonymized imaging studies and clinical data. In a pilot study on asthma patients, we tested and improved the functionality of the data archival system. TARAS is feasible to use in retrieving, analyzing, and processing both image and non-image data. In this paper, we present a detailed workflow of the implementation process of the data warehouse, paying special attention to administrative, ethical, practical, and data security concerns. The establishment of TARAS will enhance and accelerate research practice at Tampere University Hospital, while also improving the safety of patient information as well as the prospects for national and international research collaboration. We hope that much can be learned from our experience of planning, designing, and implementing a research data warehouse combining imaging studies and medical records in a university hospital.
PACS Research PACS Hospital information systems Research Archival System TARAS Medical research Large scale Pseudonymization
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Conflicts of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest.
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