The HARP Computing Environment
HARP is comprised of secure high-performance servers within the Joint High Performance Computing Exchange (JHPCE), a High-Performance Computing facility in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It is maintained at a high-security level in accordance with federal regulations governing secure computer systems (e.g., the Federal Information Security Management Act-FISMA) and meets strict security and privacy requirements of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
HARP servers utilize Linux-based operating systems, and data can be stored and analyzed using SAS, Stata, and R. Please note that “Windows-based” programs are not available in the HARP environment. Users wishing to use other software are responsible for the licensing costs. Installation of the specialized software will be evaluated by HARP staff on a case-by-case basis.
HARP data inventory includes:
- DUA-restricted CMS data
- HARP-relevant non-CMS data
- Hopkins-licensed data that are linkable and complementary to HARP projects
We keep the data up-to-date and are constantly acquiring new HBHI-relevant data as needed. HARP can also house your data to add to our data inventory.
DUA-restricted data available on HARP servers
Data resources on HARP include restricted CMS Medicare data and licensed and public-use data linkable to Medicare. HARP maintains an inventory of fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare claims, Part D claims, MedPAR, Medicare hospice, and Medicare Advantage (MA) encounter data.
For more details on the Medicare Advantage data lab, click here to watch video of what we have available.
DUA-restricted data available on other servers
Hopkins-licensed data that are linkable and complementary to HARP projects
Contextual data linkable to Medicare data include Vericred provider network data, OneKey healthcare industry database, American Hospital Association Annual Survey data, MA plan, service area, and benefit design data, and Physician and Hospital Compare data. Please visit here for up-to-date information on HARP data inventory, such as data sets, sample, and years available.
For more details on healthcare provider data sources, click here to watch video of what we have available.
Additional notes on HARP secure servers:
HARP secure servers are designed for research using data that require high security such as data with individually identifiable, protected health information. Research projects designed around lower security datasets that include anonymous patient surveys, de-identified data, and publicly available data should be stored and analyzed on other University resources, such as the Safe Desktop.
The HARP server cluster is designed for the analysis of “complete” databases that are uploaded by our IT administrators. Since users are not allowed to upload their own data, the HARP is not an appropriate storage infrastructure for data from clinical trials, surveys, or other data sources that require more frequent updates.
Assistance with Access to Restricted CMS Data
Note: Access to HARP is available to HBHI-affiliated and HEADS Center-affiliated investigators. Unaffiliated investigators will be considered for HARP server privileges if their mentor or collaborator on their research project is an affiliated investigator.
Working with restricted CMS data requires a Data Use Agreement (DUA) specifically permitting the scope of research and storage of the data on the HARP. We can evaluate whether your proposed project falls under an existing DUA and if so, refer you to the PI of that DUA. If not, HBHI-affiliated investigators may create their own DUA by submitting an application to reuse CMS data stored on the HARP. The DUA application may be submitted directly to the ResDAC by the investigator, and HARP staff can provide support with drafting the application and obtaining approval. Investigators may also purchase new data with their new DUA request or through a DUA amendment. We can assist with the request and with data delivery to ensure compliance with CMS’ security and privacy requirements. For more information on CMS data, including data dictionaries and more information about the DUA request process, please visit the ResDAC website.
Purchase of new data or reuse of CMS data under the investigator’s new DUA will be subject to fees paid directly to CMS. Once an executed DUA is obtained and provided to the HARP staff, access to the HARP and data can be granted. Current DUA documentation must be sent to HARP staff annually.
HARP also handles data access changes for research personnel. Partnering with JHPCE, HARP provides new users with training on data privacy and security and working in a Linux environment. We can also terminate user access at the request of the DUA PI.
JHPCE bills for storage space and CPU time to users monthly. In addition, the HARP, as a service center within the Bloomberg School of Public Health charges an annual access fee for each research team using HARP services. This fee is intended to cover the annual operating costs of the HARP, including administrative personnel, software licenses, hardware maintenance and depreciation, and database management.
HARP staff can prepare a formal cost estimate for investigators submitting grant applications to be included with the budget justification. Please allow five business days for a response. For funded projects, PIs and/or their staff should contact HARP in the earliest stages of the project to plan the timing, scope, and logistics of HARP resource use. Invoices are generally sent to PIs in May for the use of the HARP during the current fiscal year (July–June) unless prior arrangements have been made. If payment is not received, access to the HARP will be disabled, and project folders will be archived and then deleted.