About PopMedNet

PopMedNetTM is a scalable and extensible open-source informatics platform designed to facilitate the implementation and operation of distributed health data networks. PMN enables simple, efficient creation and use of distributed data networks, through a set of tools and web-based services. It is optimized to facilitate distributed analyses of medical product safety, comparative effectiveness, quality, medical resource utilization, cost-effectiveness, and related population health activities. The system provides secure, customized private portals, query tools, and file transfer capabilities. It supports both menu driven queries and distributed analyses using complex, single use or multi-use programs, all designed to execute against local data resources.

The PopMedNet™ software can accommodate a wide range of network sizes and complexity, from single datasets held by only two organizations through multi-year projects encompassing dozens of organizations and dozens of data resources with millions of records.

Data partners exercise full control over the files they make available for querying, the results returned to requestors, and the individuals who are permitted to submit requests.

Utilizing Distributed Data

A distributed health data network advances the secondary use of electronic health information by creating standardized and re-usable data sources in multiple sites, as well as tools to use them. In a distributed system, each data partner maintains physical control of their data behind their firewalls, protected by their security processes and rules. This approach eliminates the need to create, secure, maintain, and manage access to a complex central data warehouse, minimizes the need to disclose protected health information, and allows data partners to assess, track, and authorize query requests, or categories of requests on a case-by-case basis, thus facilitating participation.

Building a Distributed Network

The PopMedNetTM application enables investigators to create and securely distribute “requests” to network data partners and to have data partners review, execute, and securely return the results of those requests to the investigators.  Investigators make a “Request” through the PopMedNet Portal (a Web based application) to the individual Data Providers in the network.  PopMedNet uses a common infrastructure that can support multiple networks with unique governance models, enabling networks to:

  • Define their structure and governance.
  • Mitigate privacy and security concerns of participants via strict access restrictions.
  • Enable custom workflows for participants.

PopMedNet has a flexible and granular access control system to create and operate distributed research networks with highly customized configurations and permissions.

Requests are created in the web portal and distributed to Data Provider(s).The DataMart Administrator at each site uses the PopMedNet DataMart Client application to review the request, run it if desired, review the result, and then return the result to the Investigator, where they retrieve them from the Portal. The status of entire request cycle can be monitored in the web portal and via email subscriptions.

Figure 1 – PopMedNet Query Lifecycle

Figure 1 shows the lifecycle of a request/response sequence.  Technically, once a request is submitted, it is serialized into a query expression and placed into a queue awaiting collection by targeted DataMarts.  Query expressions contain Terms and Operators that encapsulate healthcare concepts used to build a query. Queries can be in the form of an analytic code package (e.g. SAS program distributed) or as a Menu-Driven Query that a user composes directly in the web Portal that is executed against a local RDBMS at each site. A DataMart Client application deployed at the end-points of the network poll the central website portal looking for requests routed to its organization.  Upon receiving a request over a secure connection, Data Model Adapters downloaded to the DataMart Client application translate the request into an execution plan against a supported Data Model and Database Manager that is hosted by the DataMart’s organization.  Once executed, a response is posted to the centralized website portal for review by the requestor and other authorized users.  Queries and their responses are monitored and tracked by the website portal throughout the query lifecycle.