Cohort Discovery Tools


ResearchMatch is an online, nationwide registry of potential research volunteers sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Through the site, Duke researchers can search for and contact registered volunteers who are a good match for their research studies. 


DEDUCE™ (Duke Enterprise Data Unified Content Explorer) is a self-service, web-based clinical research and quality improvement query tool. It allows for flexible searching of Duke patient data comprising nearly 4 decades of patient care. This tool allows researchers to estimate study recruitment potential by counting specific Duke patient populations using various inclusion and exclusion criteria available in clinical records.

DEDUCE allows users with no previous database experience to identify cohorts of patients and extract data while maintaining patient privacy. It is possible to extract PHI for research purposes from DEDUCE, but this can only be done within Duke’s Protected Access Computer Environment (PACE) if the study team has a DUHS-approved waiver or alteration of consent and/or HIPAA authorization.


Within Maestro Care is a self-service reporting tool called SlicerDicer. This tool is an Epic® application that queries patient data captured by Maestro Care. It also allows users to create a targeted patient population or cohort using data related to patients’ demographics, medications, diagnoses, encounters, lab values, provider information, and more.

Study teams with an approved protocol that has a waiver or alteration of consent and/or HIPAA authorization can view PHI for research purposes within SlicerDicer. Any PHI extracted using SlicerDicer cannot be exported out of the Maestro Care environment. 

Although they can be used for similar purposes, SlicerDicer and DEDUCE are not comparable applications and each defines and filters data differently. Because of these differences, a study’s inclusion and exclusion criteria must be considered to determine which application is more appropriate to use.


A query and analysis tool called i2b2 allows researchers to use a simple, drag-and-drop interface to query the Duke EHR and obtain patient counts within the ACT Network. Using this same network, a complementary application called SHRINE can explore and query the populations of the other participating health systems inside the ACT network. Users may not extract PHI with i2b2 or SHRINE, but they are very useful tools that can obtain patient counts to assess a study’s feasibility and design or desired site locations.

For further explanation of each of these applications along with use cases to help researchers determine which might be most applicable to their needs, please visit our DiscoverData@Duke pages.

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