Attention JAWS users. To access the menus on this page please preform the following steps. 1. Please switch JAWS auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.
The Researcher's Guide to VA Data

VA Information Resource Center

 

Database & Methods Cyberseminar Series

image of magnifying glass

Navigating the VA Data Landscape

VIReC's Database & Methods Series is an introductory guide to VA data and information systems. Sessions are designed to help VA researchers understand common VA data sources and how they are used in research and quality improvement. This series is suitable for all levels.

Current Schedule

VIReC’s Database & Methods Cyberseminar Series is updated yearly to address changes in the data environment. It begins with an introduction to VIReC and VA databases, an overview of resources for using these data, and information about data access and request processes. Presenters will then discuss a variety of data topics and sources, describing how VA data can be applied to research and quality improvement questions. Select the Special Topics Archive tab above to explore cyberseminars from previous years on topics such as comorbidities, laboratory data and more.

Cyberseminars are held the first Monday of the month at 1:00 PM Eastern, with the exception of federal holidays.

Session Upcoming Archived
Meet VIReC: The Researcher's Guide to VA Data
Learn about VIReC, a key resource for navigating VA’s complex data landscape and an advocate for data user needs. This session provides an overview of VIReC activities, products, and services along with a tour of the Center's websites and online resources.

Presented by: Souden, M
-
View
10/4/21
Navigating VA Data Sources: An Overview of Commonly Used Databases
Introduces common VA data sources and resources for using them effectively.

Presented by: Souden, M
-
View
11/1/21
Navigating VA Data Access: An Overview of the Process for Requesting Permission to Use VA Data
Describes the structure and framework for requesting access to use VA data and resources for identifying the appropriate access processes for commonly used data sources.

Presented by: Kok, L
-
View
12/6/21
CIPHER: Overview of the VA Phenomics Library and Plans for Expansion
Introduction of CIPHER, the VA Phenomics Library, a catalog and knowledge-sharing platform of electronic health record (EHR) based phenomic metadata and annotations that aims to optimize Veterans' health data, drive collaborative research and improve clinical operations.

Presented by: Cho, K and Honerlaw, J
-
View
1/10/22
Overview of CMS & USRDS data from VIReC
Provides an overview of Medicare data available to VA researchers and describes how these data can be used to identify Veterans’ use of health services paid by Medicare.

Presented by: de Groot, K
-
View
2/7/22
Ascertaining Veterans’ Vital Status: Data Sources for Mortality Ascertainment and Cause of Death
Identifies data sources for Veteran vital status ascertainment and describes the strengths and limitations of these data sources for mortality ascertainment.

Presented by: Maynard, C
-
View
3/7/22
Assessing Race and Ethnicity in VA Data
Describes how to locate race and ethnicity data and assess its quality in VA and Medicare.

Presented by: Mor, M
-
View
4/4/22
An Introduction to VA Pharmacy Data: Sources and Uses for Medication Information
Explores commonly used data sources for evaluating Veterans’ use of medications.

Presented by: Anderson, T and Paris, B

-
View
5/2/22
New VHA Vital Status File


Presented by: Arnold, N
6/27/22
-
Joint Longitudinal Viewer (JLV) and Research Part 1: Getting Started
Joint Longitudinal Viewer (JLV) is a web application for reviewing electronic health record (EHR) data and potentially useful for national research studies. We answer basic questions of how to get started with JLV in part one of this two-part series.

Presented by: Lane, A and Omizo, R
7/11/22
View
3/1/21
Joint Longitudinal Viewer (JLV) and Research Part 2: Exploring VistA and Cerner Based Data
The second session of this two-part series demonstrates how Joint Longitudinal Viewer (JLV) can be used for common research tasks.

Presented by: Lane, A and Omizo, R
7/25/22
View
3/15/21
Veteran Care in the Community Data


Presented by: Vanneman, M; Wagner, T; Beilstein-Wedel, E and Labo, M
9/12/22
-

Special Topics Archive

The Database & Methods Cyberseminar Archive lists prior sessions. It features presentations from the current year’s schedule along with those from previous years. Sessions are point-in-time. Information is current and accurate for the year in which the information was presented.

Select a title below to access the recording, handout, and transcript for that session.

Comorbidity

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
9/9/2019 Advanced Comorbidity Measures
Takes a deep dive into comorbidity measures for a more advanced audience. Prerequisite: Comorbidity Measures Using VA & CMS Data introduces approaches to and issues in assessing comorbidity using VA and Medicare claims data.
Comorbidity Hynes, D
9/10/2018 Comorbidity Measures Using VA & CMS Data
Provides overview of current approaches to and issues in assessing comorbidity using VA and Medicare claims data. Also describes efforts to improve measurement of comorbidity using claims data.
Comorbidity Hynes, D

Electronic Health Record Databases & Tools, e.g. JLV

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
3/15/2021 Joint Longitudinal Viewer (JLV) and Research Part 2: A Deeper Look
An interactive presentation covering basic use of JLV in the research setting, common use cases, optimizing EHR search and workspaces, and troubleshooting JLV issues. Includes a live demonstration and Q&A session.
JLV, EHR Lane, A
Omizo, R
3/1/2021 Joint Longitudinal Viewer (JLV) and Research, Part 1: Getting Started
An interactive presentation covering basic use of JLV in the research setting, common use cases, optimizing EHR search and workspaces, and troubleshooting JLV issues. Includes a live demonstration and Q&A session.
JLV, EHR Lane, A
Omizo, R
6/4/2018 Working with EHR Data Using VistAWeb, VINCI ChartReview Tool, and Joint Legacy Viewer
Describes EHR data and chart review methods, identifies strategies and considerations for conducting chart review, and discusses available tools to support chart review activities.
EHR Denhalter, D
Hastings, S
Mahanna, E
7/10/2017 Chart Review Using National EHR Tools
Explains benefits of conducting chart review, presents research studies that used chart review methodology, and describes steps for developing a chart review manual. Compares VA tools for accessing EHR data and provides resources related to the VA’s transition to JLV.
EHR Williams, L

Health Factors

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
9/12/2015 Working with the CDW Health Factors Domain
Uses a case study based on functional measures data to describe how to identify, extract, and clean CDW Health Factors data, and the challenges and opportunities of using these data.
CDW,
Health Factors
Barnett, P
Brown, R

Laboratory & Pharmacy Data

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
5/3/2021 An Introduction to VA Pharmacy Data: Sources and Uses for Medication Information
Explores the content and structure of pharmacy datasets in the VA.
Pharmacy
Datasets
Thorpe, J
Paris, B
6/3/2019 Diagnoses, Labs, and Meds, Oh My! Using CDW to Define a Study Cohort by Multiple Criteria
Demonstrates how to identify studssssy cohort based on occurrence of condition-relevant ICD-9/10 codes, utilization of condition-relevant medication, and condition-relevant lab results.
CDW
Lab Data
Richardson, P
Royse, K
7/9/2018 Phenotyping Physiologic Measurement of Lung Function in the VA EHR Using Automated Tools
Describes the challenges to extracting pulmonary function test (PFT) data from large EHR-based data sources, and the benefits and limitations of automatic tools that extract PFT values from the EHR.
Phenotyping, EHR Akgün, K
5/7/2018 Pharmacoepidemiological Designs: Using CDW Lab Data and Drug Data for Effectiveness Research
Provides overview of laboratory data in the CDW and reviews how to find drug information, including date of fill, number of pills per day, strength of pill, refill data, and exposure window.
CDW,
Lab Data, Pharmacy Data
Hung, A
9/11/2017 Using CDW Microbiology and Pharmacy Data in Outcomes Research
Introduces microbiology- and pharmacy-related domains in CDW, describes data limitations, and shares samples of how specific data elements can be used for research questions.
CDW, Microbiology, Pharmacy Evans, C
Jones, M
5/2/2016 Clinical Epidemiology Research using National MCA and CDW Laboratory Data: Perspectives from the Frontline
Presents general description of MCA and CDW laboratory datasets, including strengths and limitations; reviews "best practices" of using VA laboratory data; discusses examples of recent clinical epidemiology research.
CDW,
Lab Data
Al-Aly, Z
Bowe, B
Xie,Y
4/6/2015 Blood pressure measurements and their application for outcomes research in the CDW
Reviews blood pressure measurement variable in CDW, including location, file structure, ancillary variables, and availability; examines aspects of analyzing blood pressure; discusses VA studies examining blood pressure.
CDW,
Lab Data
Kovesdy, C

Medicare

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
12/7/2020 Measuring Veterans’ Medicare Health Services
Provides an overview of Medicare data available to VA researchers and describe how these data can be used to identify Veterans’ use of health services paid by Medicare.
Medicare
Data
Veterans
deGroot, K

Mental Health

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
9/12/2016 A Practical Guide to Using the CDW Mental Health Domain
Introduces CDW Mental Health domain and data elements available, provides examples of how specific data elements, such as the AUDIT-C and BAM, have been used in research, and addresses potential limitations of these data.
CDW,
Mental Health
Hawkins, E
Malte, C

Outpatient

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
2/6/2017 Assessing Outpatient Utilization with VA Data
Introduces two primary sources of VA outpatient utilization data, MedSAS and CDW. Discusses how clinical and administrative outpatient data has been used in retrospective cohort studies.
CDW,Outpatient Hynes, D

Race/Ethnicity

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
4/5/2021 Assessing Race and Ethnicity in VA Data
Describes how to locate race and ethnicity data and assess its quality in VA and Medicare.
Race,Medicare Mor, M

USVETS

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
5/6/2019 United States Veterans Eligibility Trends and Statistics: A New Data Source with Socioeconomic Variables
Introduces USVETS database including addressing its accuracy, completeness, consistency, validity, and timeliness; defines available socioeconomic data; and describes process to obtain access to USVETS.
USVETS Bhargava, A
Hauser, G

VA REDCap

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
3/5/2018 VA REDCap 101
Describes benefits and limitations of VA REDCap, reviews basic and advanced features of VA REDCap, and provides additional resources for training and support.
VA REDCap, Primary Data Collection Paris, B

Vital Status/Mortality

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
6/7/2021 Ascertaining Veterans’ Vital Status: Data Sources for Mortality Ascertainment and Cause of Death
Describe the components of the VA Vital Status Files and how they can be used for research purposes. Also discusses other death databases such as the National Death Index and state death certificates.
Mortality, NDI, Vital Status Maynard, C

Weight Data

Date Title Key Topic(s) Presenter(s)
4/6/2020 WEIGHT WEIGHT…DO TELL ME!: Comparing algorithms to process and clean CDW weight data
Compares algorithms identified from a systematic literature review used to process and clean administrative (CDW) weight data, leading to practical recommendations.
CDW,
Weight Data
Burns, J
Damschroder, L
Evans, R
Wiitala, W