VA HSR&D Resources for Researchers: Tools
Desktop Access to The VHA Financial and Clinical Data Mart (FCDM) Using ProClarity
This PC software can be used to access the VHA Financial and Clinical Data Mart. VHA has an enterprise-wide license that allows us to copy and distribute this software to any VHA employee. Copies are available from HSR&D Resource Centers and from VISN information offices.
The VHA Financial and Clinical Data Mart (FCDM)
Analysts can tabulate DSS national data sets, FMS data, NPPD (prosthetics), PAID (payroll) and financial (FMS) data, a dataset of diabetic patients, as well as the person-level cost dataset of the Allocation Resource Center. These reports may be analyzed with a web based software tool, or the desktop tool. FCDM is being expanded to include many new clinical datasets.
The ProClarity Desktop software is more flexible than the web software. It allows report specifications to be saved in "briefing books." Briefing books may be shared among users. The briefing book will reflect any subsequent updates to the data source.
At the present writing, it appears that in order to use this software to analyze the FCDM, the user must be connect to the VA private network, have a VA e-mail username and password, and be logged on an official VA network domain (e.g., a network with an officially recognized VA domain name).
After installing and starting the desktop software, the user is prompted with choices for data source. Choose "cube for browsing," and enter the name of the FCDM server, which is "vhaaacdw04." The next to last character is zero. (This server is also known as vhaaacdw04.vha.med.va.gov).
Click on the "advanced options" button and enter the username (including domain name, e.g., vha21\vhausername) and password.
The VISN Support Service Center provides some support for using the desktop. As part of the VHA license agreement, ProClarity offers training in use of this software at its office in Idaho.
Limitations of ProClarity
ProClarity does not have any statistical analysis tools. ProClarity can create extract files for use by other programs.
It is not currently possible to obtain patient-level information from the ProClarity FCDM. It is expected that this limitation will be overcome, but data will use real social security numbers and require an Austin account with real social security number access. Even when this occurs, research users will still be unable to supply a list of patients (for example, of individuals who have enrolled in a study) and then extract data on them. This is because the user is not allowed add data elements to the data mart.
For more information on using ProClarity with the VHA FCDM, contact the VISN Support Services Center at http://vssc.med.va.gov/ (accessible via intranet only).
The goal of this Service Directed Research project was to create a product that would enhance knowledge of VA's enrolled patient population and their health care utilization and, ultimately, to provide background information that will improve the formulation of specific research questions to address those needs. The VA Health Care Atlas, FY2005 includes: