Posts in category REDCap

How to prepare your REDCap project to be loaded into HERON?

Integration of REDCap project data into HERON is driven by our desire to empower the researcher to:

  • look at a richer data picture of their project population.
  • look for disparities in data in the EMR versus the data in REDCap projects.

Since July 2012, REDCap projects that model breast cancer, Alzheimer's, Sepsis management registries among others have been integrated into HERON. In this post, we briefly summarize how you can get your REDCap project ready for integration into HERON.

Make sure you document the MRN for patients in your project.
REDCap data related to a patient is linked to the rest of their EMR data using their Medical Record Number (MRN). Please make sure you record the MRN accurately for the patients with all the leading zeros. Patients missing valid MRN will not be loaded into HERON.

Verify that no two records in your REDCap project have the same MRN.
If two records(i.e. patients) have the same MRN, then your REDCap project should be modeled as a longitudinal project. If you have questions regarding longitudinal projects, please watch the relevant video on If you need further help changing your project to be longitudinal, contact us.

Mark the fields containing PHI as "Identifiers"
If you are recording PHI in a field in your REDCap project, please make sure you have marked that field as an identifier. You can do that from online designer. Once a field has been marked as an identifier the data in it will not be loaded into HERON so that we can comply with our "de-identified data only" policy.

Check the REDCap field types in your project
Right now we only pull the following REDCap field types into HERON:

  • text fields with integer, float or date validation. We ignore text fields without any validation.
  • Radio, checkbox, select(dropdown), yesno fields

Make sure the data you want to look at in HERON is in those fields. If not please contact us and we can try to expand this list. We do not load data from unvalidated text fields due to the de-identification challenges.

Verify the user rights to your project
Currently access to your REDCap data in HERON is limited to only users who have permissions to it in REDCap.

Project Status: Production
Finally, make sure your project has been moved to Production. This is a good practice for REDCap projects as it helps protect the project structure and data against inadvertent changes.

Our releases are around the middle of a month
For your project to be part of the next monthly release, the project has to be ready by the first week of a month. We will first stage the data and will contact you if you we have any obvious issues that we need your help in resolving.

Request to integrate your project
Please complete the REDCap-to-HERON Request so that we can integrate your project into HERON. Choose options HERON and then REDCap to HERON Request.

Contact us
If you have any questions contact us at misupport@….

Health of the Public poster session shows time-saving benefits of Informatics Tools

The most recent Health of the Public (HOP) student poster session in April provided another glimpse into student research at KUMC. I am continually impressed by the hard work of these students to create a project, collect data, analyze the data, and present within four weeks. The best part of the HOP poster sessions, for me, is speaking with the students to learn how they employ our informatics tools, what worked or didn’t, and seeing the impact of our tools on student research in general. In this session, the majority of the posters mentioned REDCap, and a few highlighted HERON. Many students praised our tools and in particular, the time saved in collecting and analyzing the data. Each poster session presents new questions regarding public health, new ways in which the data is collected and analyzed, and an increased role for informatics tools. I am looking forward to seeing what the next poster session in October holds.

Automatically populating REDCap fields from earlier forms

In our work on the Alzheimers Disease Core Center, we had information entered into one REDCap form that we wanted to see in another.

REDCap doesn't offer this out of the box, so we added a little code (attachment:calc_text.patch ; #569). The way it works is a little quirky:

  1. In the usual REDCap fashion,
    1. Make a new field
    2. Choose Calculated Field for Field Type.
    3. Put the name of the source field in square brackets in the Calculation Equation. For example, [last_name]
  2. Now for the quirk: start the Variable Name for this new automatically populated field with
    • text_ for a single-line text field; for example: text_display_last_name
    • textarea_ for a multi-line text area.

OK, so using the variable name like this is sort of cheating, but hey... it seems to work for now.

If you would like us to show it to you in person, feel free to come to our FrontiersInformaticsClinic, which meets today at 4pm in Dykes 410. If today doesn't work, we're there every other Tuesday. Check the KUMC calendar.

First Frontiers Clinical/Translational Informatics Clinic

We'd like to thank everyone who came to the first Frontiers Clinical/Translational Informatics Clinic yesterday.

The clinic is scheduled for 4pm every other Tuesday in Library Room 1040. As the announcement said:

The Frontiers Clinical/Translational Informatics Clinic exists for investigators needing assistance using informatics tools for data exploration, cohort discovery, and data collection. The clinic is a brainstorming session and an education forum for investigators and informatics to share knowledge, provide feedback, and optimize the use of systems such as: - REDCap for data collection - the HERON clinical data repository and its i2b2 application - and other systems developed as part of Frontiers: Kansas City's Clinical and Translational Science Award.

It was interesting to chat with everybody, from investigators with proposals in development to research nurses, study coordinators, etc. We introduced our systems and talked about how they can be used to support research.

CRIS? is KUMC's custom installation of Velos eResearch, the highly-regarded clinical research information system chosen by 20 medical institutions with top 25 ratings.

For those doing a clinical trial, specially for cancer or an investigational drug where adverse event reporting is requred, CRIS is the way to go:

REDCap allows you to build and manage online surveys and databases quickly and securely. It's used by thousands of projects at hundreds of institutions.

If you are building a patient registry or a lightweight trial at KUMC, try REDCap:

HERON allows you to explore de-identified data from Epic/O2 (the hospital electronic medical records) and IDX (the clinical billing system). We talked about capabilities and access rules for HERON, using some HERONTrainingMaterials? for reference.

Access to de-identified data is non-human subjects research and does not require approval by the HSC/IRB. For qualified faculty who want view-only access to do patient count queries, executing a system access agreement is the only requirement.

A Data Request Oversight Committee (DROC) oversees requests to:

  • sponsor collaborators and research team members
  • extract de-identified data sets

For access to identified data, you will need an IRB approved protocol.

We look forward to meeting with our user community again in two weeks.

Dan, Kahlia, Arvinder, and Russ