PIMS Resource Center

Sharing Your PIMS Data Table updated 9/23/11

Once you have a copy of your data table, you can then zip this and email it.

Exporting Your Data Table
The Export Full Data Table function exports your entire data set from PIMS. This could be used for sharing your data with an evaluator or a state agency, or for sharing your data with a technical support specialist. Note that this function differs from Export Limited Data Table, which exports a partial data set.

To export your data table:

  1. Open PIMS (or click on Main Menu) to get to the PIMS Start Menu.
  2. Click on DB Administration.
  3. Click Export Full Data Table.
  4. Click on Dest DB. This opens up the Create New Database window.
  5. Browse to a location to save your exported PIMS data table. It's recommended that you choose the Desktop so you can easily find it later.
  6. In the file name: box, enter a meaningful name that identifies your site, for example "pimstab_chicago".
  7. Click Save.
  8. Click Export.
  9. You should see a message, "Database backup was successful." Click OK.
  10. Click Close.
  11. From Windows Explorer, locate your file, right-click on it and select Send To -> Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  12. If the Compressed (zipped) Folder pop-up box appears, click Yes.
  13. You can email the zip file you just created in the above steps.

De-Identify Your Data Table
De-identifying your database allows you to share a copy of your database that protects the confidentiality of your clients.  This may be useful, for example, if you’d like to share your data with a consultant.  The consultant will be able to view your data (except for the confidential info) for quality control, troubleshooting a problem, or writing an evaluation.

De-identification protects the privacy of data by encrypting the following identifiers:

  • Names
  • All geographic subdivisions smaller than state (address, city, zip)
  • Telephone numbers
  • ID numbers (screen_id, assessment_id, participant_id), but not person_id, which is used internally by the software for the purpose of linking screening, intake, and assessment records.

Note that this function also does not encode birth dates, enrollment dates, and termination dates.  HIPAA allows for data in these fields to be shared provided the Covered Entity (i.e., the PIMS site) engages in a Limited Data Set agreement with the Business Associate (an evaluator or researcher).

Note also that the de-identification utility does not alter the original database; it creates a copy of the original database, and de-identifies this copy.

A de-identified database is different from an exported database in that it can be opened by PIMS.  No fields are eliminated from the database, they are simply x-ed out or encoded.  An exported database, in contrast, contains only a subset of your data set.

To de-identify your data set:

  • Go to the PIMS Start Menu, click the Database Administration button.
  • In the Data Conversion section of the Database Administration form, click on De-identify Database.
  • In the De-Identify database window, click on the Source DB button to select the database that you want to de-identify.
  • Click on the Destination DB button to select a file name and location where you want your de-identified data.
  • Enter an Encryption password (six or more characters) and confirm this.
  • Click de-identify to de-identify your data.  You will see a message, “Your database needs to be archived prior to de-identification.”  Click OK.
  • Once your database has been archived, you will see a message, “Your database has been archived successfully.”  Click OK.
  • Once your database has been de-identified (this will take some time), you will see a message, “Database de-identified successfully!”.  Click OK.
  • PIMS will re-attach your original database, and will give you the message “The original database has been re-attached to the current program.”  You can continue working with the original database.
  • If you want to work with the de-identified database, go to the Start Menu, click Select PIMS File, and locate the database specified in step c above.

To re-identify a de-identified data set:
Follow step 2 above, using the de-identified data set as the Source DB and creating a new Destination DB.  If you enter the same encryption password that was used to de-identify the data, the utility will restore your original data.  This can be a useful technique for sharing your data set with a technical support specialist, in the case that you might want to retain any changes the specialist makes to your database.  However, if you just need a “snapshot” of your database to share with peer reviewers, you can just give them the de-identified copy of the database and continue working with the original database.

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