Maine Health Data Warehouse

Developing a robust and secure data warehouse for population health reporting in Maine

Working with the Maine Health Data Organization (MHDO) and our partner NORC, we helped design and build a state of the art data submission system and data warehouse for Maine’s all-payer claims and hospital encounter data. We’ve also been assisting MHDO to produce timely data releases and ad hoc analysis to support state and legislative initiatives.


Health data warehouses can be valuable tools, but developing and implementing them so they are useful for population health research presents a host of technical challenges. As health researchers, we work to build technical solutions that overcome these challenges, producing rich, timely data on meaningful measures.

Working with our project partners and seeking input from data submitters and end users, we redesigned the Maine APCD, submission portals, and data warehouse for hospital data to produce more timely and higher quality data.

  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Data System Design
  • Health Data Warehousing
  • Technical Assistance and Training
  • User Support

Secure and highly configurable data intake and warehouse solutions

Since 2003, the Maine Health Data Organization has been collecting healthcare claims data by mandate of the state legislature. In 2012, MHDO sought to rebuild its warehousing functions to take better advantage of newer technologies and improve customer service, and contracted with HSRI and NORC at the University of Chicago to make it happen.  Together, and with input from a variety of stakeholders, we redesigned the state’s system to collect and house healthcare claims data, hospital encounter data, and hospital quality data.

HSRI leads the project, performing project management and quality assurance functions in addition to developing web platforms and user interfaces for the system. NORC oversees the core engineering and maintenance of the warehouse infrastructure and hosts the system on its secure Data Enclave.

Achieving efficiencies

The system we developed provides an ETL platform that helps reduce the burden on data submitters by providing timely data quality feedback and by automating the secure file transfer process. This system is easily configurable via a convenient web portal, reducing the need for costly system updates to accommodate future changes (e.g., State legislative rule changes). Reporting capabilities are made accessible to data submitters, MHDO staff, and other authorized users via a secure web portal. The system makes use of cloud technologies to provide a robust, scalable, and highly secure data platform capable of handling high volumes of data and achieving high levels of availability.

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Interactive dashboards allow MHDO data users to quickly identify available data.

Collaborating to produce a sustainable system

To develop a system that could sustain itself, we needed to make sure it would provide vital healthcare data to a diverse range of interested audiences—not only policymakers but also healthcare industry players, independent researchers, consumer advocacy groups and others.  To do this, we convened several stakeholder groups to identify important system elements and outputs. 

  • Payers and hospitals participated in the APCD and hospital encounter database development process
  • Key stakeholders weighed in on data submission and validation quality rules

We also sought to make all processes, rules, and methods transparent and explicitly define these on the MHDO website.

Supporting Data Release and Reporting

Recently, data from the APCD and hospital encounter data systems have been used in several initiatives to improve the health and health systems for Maine residents, providing:

  • Information on opioid treatment in the state for Maine’s Opioid Task Force
  • Data to support the annual Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book, Maine’s comprehensive report of the physical, social, economic and educational well-being of Maine children
  • Details on the costs of surgical procedures across hospitals in Maine for the legislature 

Maine Health Data Organization

Project Partner(s):

NORC at the University of Chicago

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