Connecting data to health outcomes and workforce needs
 

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What are the benefits of the Medical Education Outcomes Center (MEOC)? Why should I request data through the MEOC instead of requesting the data directly from someone who I know can access the data?
The following outlines some of benefits of requesting data through the MEOC.
Before MEOC After MEOC
  • Individuals don't always know who to contact to request data
  • All requests for data are made through one single entry point
  • Time and resources are spent by "keepers" of the data in order to retrieve and provide data to others, or to answer questions
  • Designated MEOC staff in place in order to retrieve and provide data, and to answer or triage questions
  • Inconsistent, informal, or undocumented processes for requesting and providing access to data
  • Requests for data are generated, documented, and tracked in a formal, streamlined, and consistent manner
  • Individuals might request similar data for similar purposes resulting in duplication or "reinvention of the wheel"
  • Prior requests for similar data or for similar purposes are leveraged, lending to greater efficiency, consistency, and potential opportunity for collaboration
  • Individuals might be on their own for analyzing and interpreting data
  • Consulting services available to assist in analyzing and interpreting data
  • Individuals might not know what data they want or need, or what is potentially available or relevant
  • Assistance in identifying proper data sources and data elements for requester's specific needs
  • Certain data might be duplicated, utilized, or interpreted inconsistently
  • A centralized resource for data integration and management, fostering consistency in use, definition, and interpretation of data
  • Due to informal practices, potential for security concerns surrounding data delivery and access
  • Secure data delivery methods with proper de-identification protocols in place
+ How do I submit a request to the Medical Education Outcomes Center (MEOC)?
Click “New Request” in the navigation bar or navigate to https://outcomes.med.umn.edu/requests/new. Log in using your University of Minnesota x500 and password, and complete the form. You will have the option to save the form as a draft or submit. Submit the form to initiate the request process.
+ What happens when I submit a request?
Once you submit a request, you can follow its progress through our workflow at the top of the request page. The request is first received by the MEOC business owner, who will review it for achievability and acceptability, consulting with others as appropriate. Once approved, the business owner will assign your request to a MEOC staff member, who will work with you to finalize the requirements of your request. The staff member will then facilitate approval of the request from the owner of the data you have requested. Once the data owner has granted approval, the staff member will implement the request, performing quality assurance as necessary. They will then package and deliver (typically via email) the results of your request, including instructions for accessing data. At any point during this process, staff members may contact you for further information or to refine the details of your request.
+ How long will it take to complete my request?
The length from request submission to delivery varies based on many factors, including the complexity of the request, accessibility of the data, and workload of MEOC staff. Requests are typically prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis, although prioritization exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. If your request is particularly urgent or on a specific timeline, please provide that information when submitting your request.
+ I don’t see the data I’m interested in on your list of available data elements or sources at https://outcomes.med.umn.edu/explore. Can I still submit a request for that data?
Yes! We are constantly expanding our available data, so the lists of available data on the website are not exhaustive. Furthermore, even if we do not currently have access to the data you are interested in, we will work with you to find the data and integrate it into the MEOC, if at all possible.
+ What if my request is denied?
We strive to approve every request that is reasonable and possible for us to complete. If we have concerns about your request, we will typically work together with you to clarify or alter the request, as opposed to denying your request outright. If we do have to deny your request, we will inform you as to the reason. You will still be welcome to submit other requests to the MEOC.
+ How will I receive my requested data?
You will typically receive an email with instructions for accessing your data. The most common data delivery mechanism is via Tableau, including embedded Tableau visualizations and dashboards within other applications such a MEdIS or BlackBag. However, on a case by case basis, the center can also deliver data via other formats (e.g., spreadsheet, MS Access, etc.).

In addition to being recognized as an industry leader in the space of data analytics platforms, Tableau allows technical and non-technical users alike to easily explore data by using click and drag features and filter options. In addition, users can easily export data from Tableau for import into other tools such as statistical software programs.
+ Besides data, what services or offerings does the MEOC provide?
The MEOC offers a comprehensive array of data-related services including requests for the following:
  • Obtain, integrate, edit, or modify data sources
  • Assistance with data collection or data creation (e.g., survey collection)
  • Consultation on how to work with / analyze data and data analysis best practices
  • Creation of Tableau dashboards and visualizations
  • Data analysis
+ Whom do I contact with questions about the MEOC or my request?
Email meddata@umn.edu with general questions. If your question is about a specific request, include the request number if possible to help us locate your request more easily. Once your request has been assigned to a specific MEOC staff member, you can also email that staff member directly with questions.
+ Whom do I contact with technical issues regarding outcomes.med.edu or accessing my data?
Email meddata@umn.edu with any technical issues.
+ I made a mistake when I submitted my form, and now I can’t change it. What do I do?
For documentation and tracking purposes, we do not allow requesters to edit requests once submitted. If you need to make modifications to a submitted request, please email meddata@umn.edu or work directly with the MEOC staff member assigned to your request. You can also write a comment on the request clarifying any changes.
+ Why don’t you currently accept research requests? How do I determine whether or not my request is considered research?
We are currently working on addressing relevant governance and compliance issues relating to research requests, meaning we are not broadly open to research at this time. However, we will consider individual research requests on a case-by-case basis.

Federal regulations have a specific definition of “research.” One simple rule of thumb is if you intend to make your findings generalizable (that is, if you intend to publish or present on your results in a context outside of the UMN Medical School), and if your study is about humans (as opposed to institutions), that would be considered research. If your project would require an IRB application (including exempt applications), it would be considered research for the purposes of MEOC. Data collection or analysis for the purposes of strategic or operational decision-making is not considered research in this context. The UMN IRB (https://research.umn.edu/units/irb) has further information regarding research policies and procedures at UMN.
+ What prerequisites are required to submit a request to the MEOC?
We require all team members on requests to have completed FERPA, HIPAA, and University Information Security Awareness trainings available on ulearn.umn.edu before we approve a request.
+ What are my responsibilities regarding data or other deliverables provided by the MEOC?
We require all users to agree to the data use policy as outlined in the request form. We also ask that requesters stay in touch with the MEOC to update us on the results or outcomes of their completed requests.
+ How do you pronounce MEOC?
People in the know pronounce it as "mee-awk."

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