The Health Services Research Data Center (formerly CERC-DC) is a University-wide resource to facilitate research using large public health datasets containing protected health information. The Data Center provides secure data storage, high-throughput computing and access to multiple state and federal databases. Datasets managed by the Data Center include Medicare and Medicaid data files, among others. These data are unique in that they necessitate a high level of security as well as a powerful computing infrastructure, all of which are provided by the Data Center.
We use Dell PowerEdge multi-processor blade servers currently configured with 76 cores, 608 GB of memory and approximately 11 TB of storage which are securely maintained at the University of Pittsburgh’s Network Operations Center (NOC). The HSRDC servers are in a secure server room at the NOC, which is equipped with temperature control, alarm system and tracking key card entry system.
The user interface utilizes VMware-based “virtual desktops” running Windows 7, which allows users to work directly on the secure server while still providing for a familiar computing experience. Users access their virtual desktops by way of a two-factor authentication process (passwords and RSA tokens) via a secure socket layer (SSL) 128 bit VPN connection around an encrypted virtual desktop connection. This allows the user to directly manage and analyze sensitive data directly in the secure computing environment in order to maximize both operability and security.
The Data Center is managed for the Health Policy Institute (HPI) by the Department of Critical Care Medicine’s Program on Health Policy and Management. Team members include:
Director and Faculty Advisor
Director of Technology
Our FAQ page provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the HSRDC.
To inquire about how to access the HSRDC or just to get more information about the services we provide, please contact us.