Description

Large corporations maintain a variety of administrative databases as part of their normal operations. These databases, created for distinct functions by separate organizational entities, are generally independent. For instance, a company’s Human Resources organization typically maintains a database containing information such as demographics, job and salary history, and employee status for all employees.. The environmental, health and safety department maintains information regarding work-place exposures and exposure levels for various agents within each job as well as injury and illness surveillance records. The medical department maintains occupational health information including audiometric and pulmonary function test results. As many large corporations are self-insured, they also have medical claims data available by employee that includes diagnosis codes, procedure codes, and prescription drug codes. Additional data maintained by corporations may include production output and quality information, employee contributions to retirement plans and health savings accounts, as well as workers compensation information.

A synergistic partnership between industry and academia allows for linkage between company maintained databases to enable the conduct of research to examine associations between demographic, occupational and social factors not otherwise available to researchers, and the ability to define and test interventions to promote health and safety in the workplace. An almost 20 year relationship between Alcoa, Inc. and Yale University School of Medicine continues to facilitate investigation of root causes of disease and injury risk in a large manufacturing cohort. To date, over 50 peer-reviewed research papers have resulted from this joint venture.

 

Beyond Original Intent – The Use of a Corporation’s Administrative Databases for Academic Research

Large corporations maintain a variety of administrative databases as part of their normal operations. These databases, created for distinct functions by separate organizational entities, are generally independent. For instance, a company’s Human Resources organization typically maintains a database containing information such as demographics, job and salary history, and employee status for all employees.. The environmental, health and safety department maintains information regarding work-place exposures and exposure levels for various agents within each job as well as injury and illness surveillance records. The medical department maintains occupational health information including audiometric and pulmonary function test results. As many large corporations are self-insured, they also have medical claims data available by employee that includes diagnosis codes, procedure codes, and prescription drug codes. Additional data maintained by corporations may include production output and quality information, employee contributions to retirement plans and health savings accounts, as well as workers compensation information.

A synergistic partnership between industry and academia allows for linkage between company maintained databases to enable the conduct of research to examine associations between demographic, occupational and social factors not otherwise available to researchers, and the ability to define and test interventions to promote health and safety in the workplace. An almost 20 year relationship between Alcoa, Inc. and Yale University School of Medicine continues to facilitate investigation of root causes of disease and injury risk in a large manufacturing cohort. To date, over 50 peer-reviewed research papers have resulted from this joint venture.