A user-friendly web-based query tool for patient care data – Duke Enterprise Data Unified Content Explorer (DEDUCE)

Value Proposition

In many healthcare organizations, comparative effectiveness research and quality improvement (QI) investigations are hampered by a lack of access to data created as a byproduct of patient care. Data collection often hinges upon either manual chart review or ad hoc requests to technical experts who support legacy clinical systems. There is a need to mitigate the risk of data being misunderstood and consequently used in an improper fashion.


DEDUCE™ (Duke Enterprise Data Unified Content Explorer) is a self-service, web-based query tool developed by Duke inventors with an intuitive, user-friendly interface that allows for flexible searching of data hierarchies compiled through years of patient care. Users with no previous database experience can identify cohorts of patients and extract data while maintaining patient privacy. DEDUCE is a simple, web-based environment that allows investigators access to administrative, financial, and clinical information generated during patient care. By using business intelligence tools to create a view into Duke Medicine's enterprise data warehouse, DEDUCE provides a Guided Query functionality using a wizard-like interface that lets users filter through millions of clinical records, explore aggregate reports, and, export extracts. Researchers and QI specialists can obtain detailed patient- and observation-level extracts without needing to understand structured query language or the underlying database model. Developers designing such tools must devote sufficient training and develop application safeguards to ensure that patient-centered clinical researchers understand when observation-level extracts should be used. This may mitigate the risk of data being misunderstood and consequently used in an improper fashion.


  • DEDUCE is currently being used at Duke University Health System with a data set covering over 3.4 million patients spanning 37 years, refreshed daily
  • Real-time tracking and geo-mapping of potential research particpants
  • Enables clinicians to generate patient cohorts without the need for a data scientist
  • Compatible with various EHR software