Clinical and Health Informatics Institute (CHI2)

Our informatics team is dedicated to optimizing the conduct of high quality clinical and translational research and providing the needed computational and informational infrastructure for investigators at UW-Madison and Marshfield Clinic. We assist investigators during project conceptualization, grant submission, and deployment of secure data storage and processing methods.

The ICTR informatics infrastructure resides within the Clinical & Health Informatics Institute (CHI2 or CHI2). This includes two clinical research systems: REDCap data storage and OnCore clinical trial management system. This infrastructure is made possible by support from the NIH Clinical & Translational Science Award to UW ICTR, the Wisconsin Partnership Program, UW Health, and UW SMPH.

Educational opportunities include the Clinical & Health Informatics MS degree program and the Clinical Research Informatics Community of Practice.

To connect with a CHI2 team member to discuss your clinical research study, please

Submit an online consultation form OR contact us by email

What our users say about us

Our Services

  • Data queries and extraction: Provide data from the UW Health Electronic Health Record (EHR) to research teams for a variety of clinical research purposes including feasibility, recruitment, and analysis.
  • EHR development: Program research functions in the EHR to support interventions, facilitate recruitment, develop alerts, and smooth research logistics at the point of care.
  • Research Computing and Data Storage: Allows clinical investigators to have a secure environment to host and process data.

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Data queries and extraction

We assist UW investigators with developing data queries and securely delivering both de-identified data and patient-specific data from the UW Health Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW).  This data can be used to support your research including feasibility assessments, recruitment of participants, pilot studies, and retrospective analyses.

We handle two types of data queries:

  • Feasibility counts are simple requests for count level data, i.e., “How many patients in the UW Health EDW meet criteria X, Y, and Z?”
  • Data requests are access to data that is not available in i2b2: (e.g. multi-term or conditional queries), or if the patient data contains protected health information (PHI).

Data requests that involve more detailed data than simple feasibility counts, and may require IRB approval or waiver depending upon whether the request contains only de-identified data, a limited data set, or fully identified data.

EHR development

In partnership with UW Health Informatics Services, researchers can use Epic as a platform to support interventions, support recruitment, develop alerts, and facilitate research logistics at the point of care.

Some types and uses of EHR developments include:

  • Data collection with SmarText, SmartForms
  • Research protocols with Flowsheets, Order Sets
  • Recruitment by using Best Practice Alerts (BPAs), Reporting Workbench

Research Computing and Data Storage

Consider the SMPH Computing Infrastructure for your research computing and data storage needs. This infrastructure combines state-of-the-art virtualization and private cloud technologies to provide investigators with a secure environment to store and compute research data.

Visit the SMPH Research Computing Infrastructure site to learn more.

If you need computing and storage for your research, complete the Research Computing and Data Storage Needs form.


An informatics expert is available to meet with you to support clinical research study feasibility, recruitment, and analysis. Some topics you may consider with us include informatics planning, data modeling, data security and privacy, applications design, and data quality assessment.

Please submit a consult request to learn more about working with CHI2 experts in this area. Check “I’d just like to start by talking to someone” or “What I’m interested in isn’t on the list” and describe your research needs in the Notes fields.

CHI2 Open Lab Hours

Starting in February 2021, every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 1:30-2:30 PM through the end of the year and every 4th Friday of the month from 10:30-11:00 AM, the CHI2 will host “Open Lab Hours” in which we are asking research faculty, staff, and students to register for a session they would like to attend and will have free access to ask questions from experts in the CHI2 regarding any of the CHI2’s service offerings and technology.

>> Find all dates and register here.

How to Obtain Data through CHI2

Start by Submitting a Consult form

  • Submit a CHI2 Consult form and select “I need assistance from the CHI2 team” under the Preparatory to Research Activities heading.
  • Pick the most accurate description of your data needs and provide any additional information requested, including IRB review status and project funding if available.
  • Fill out as much of the optional Data Elements section at the end of the form as you can.

Learn More About Research Protections

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Do I need IRB approval?


IRB approval is required for data requests that require identifiable private information and that meets the federal definition of research. The UW-Madison Health Sciences Institutional Review Board (HS-IRB) website has more guidance, e.g., Does My Research Need IRB Review? and Change in Personnel guidance.

Activities preparatory to research

De-identified data requests to determine study feasibility or plans for participant recruitment do NOT require IRB review. Active participant recruitment DOES need IRB approval.

How do I request clinical research data?

Clinical data can be requested through the CHI2 consult form. The more preparation you do, the better we can help you with your data request. To help you fill out the optional Data Elements section of the consult form, begin by creating a detailed description of the patients who are relevant to your research question, including dates of service, demographics, diagnoses, procedures, treatments, and lab tests and determining exact ICD9, ICD10 and CPT codes for your query. Other elements to consider include:

  • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Inclusion Date Range
  • Study population (age, gender, race, ethnicity)
  • Data elements needed
  • Define the constraints (filters)
  • Inpatient
  • Outpatient
  • “Medical home” here
  • Department restrictions
  • Data format for delivery

What should I expect after I’ve submitted my request?

Step 1: Initial review

We start by evaluating requests to make sure your request is clear, complete, and feasible for us to fulfill. We’ll also verify that the primary requester or the PI is an authorized UW investigator.

Step 2: Fulfillment

Once you and your colleagues are verified as authorized users and IRB approval is confirmed, we can fulfill your data request. When the data is ready, we will email you with instructions for accessing your data.

Step 3: Working with your data

After your request is fulfilled, we are available to help you better understand and work with your data. This may involve assistance with data visualization and identifying caveats in the clinical data.

What is i2b2?

A self-service tool aimed at supporting rapid query building for cohort identification.

You can read more about i2b2 and how it can be used for recruitment feasibility, pre-IRD counts, and hypothesis testing on the i2b2 page.

How will I access and analyze my data?

Once your data request has been fulfilled, you’ll receive an e-mail with access to your requested data via REDCap.

Please make sure that you take the steps to access a REDCap account if you do not have one already.  The REDCap environment protects private patient data, provides data backup, and enables collaboration with colleagues.

What if I need more informatics support?

We can also help you work with your data.

Complete the CHI2 Consult form if you want to:

  • Get help managing your data.
  • Get informatics support for grant applications.
  • Be introduced to other informatics experts.

What our users say

Thank you so much for the detailed instructions and the delivery of the data. I truly appreciate you and your team’s help through this whole process.

– School of Nursing Investigator, December 2019

We really appreciate your help in making sure this is done properly to protect patients.

– SMPH Investigator, September 2019

This seems to be exactly what I asked for, and need, for the proposal. Thank you so much for running this so quickly!!!

– School of Nursing Investigator, October 2019

CHI2 Team

Sheri Alexander

Position title: Administrator, Clinical Trial Management Systems, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Thomas Callaci

Position title: SMPH Honest Broker, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Jack Champeau

Position title: Professional Programs Director, Clinical & Health Informatics

Oliver Eng

Position title: Research Data Analyst, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Ilsa Gaulke

Position title: Training and Support, Clinical Trials Management Systems, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Molly Houston

Position title: Data Quality and Compliance, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Jomol Mathew

Position title: Director, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Rachel Sauer

Position title: Student Services and Program Coordinator, Clinical & Health Informatics

Amy Siedschlag

Position title: REDCap Application Manager, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute

Heidi Twedt

Position title: Academic Director, Graduate Programs in Clinical and Health Informatics

Yonghe Yan

Position title: Research Data Analyst, Clinical & Health Informatics Institute