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Event showcases REDCap’s data management versatility

Feb. 8, 2018, 9:45 AM

Paul Harris, PhD, speaks during Tuesday’s REDCap Day symposium. (photo by Steve Green)

Fourteen years after it was launched, REDCap, Vanderbilt University’s research data management tool, has transformed clinical and translational studies around the globe.

“It’s an incredible lever for innovation,” said Gordon Bernard, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and Executive Vice President for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

Bernard, who also is senior associate dean for Clinical Sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, on Tuesday introduced the second annual REDCap Day, which highlighted some of “what’s new and what’s next” for REDCap.

REDCap, or Research Electronic Data Capture, is a web-based platform devised by Paul Harris, PhD, professor of Biomedical Informatics and Biomedical Engineering. More than 2,700 institutions and 647,000 users in 117 countries have adopted REDCap and nearly 5,000 research studies using the research tool have been published.

Three inventive REDCap applications were showcased Tuesday.

Thomas Scherr, PhD, research assistant professor of Chemistry, described how REDCap can improve the accuracy and utility of rapid diagnostic tests (RTDs) for diseases like malaria, influenza or HIV in the field.

Scherr and his colleagues used an unmodified mobile phone to photograph the RTDs and uploaded them to REDCap. Results were returned accurately and within seconds.

Yaa Aboayewa Kumah-Crystal, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics and Pediatrics, discussed how a REDCap capability known as data “piping” enables patients to record their medical history, psychosocial issues and other factors that make it difficult for them to follow treatment plans before they meet with their healthcare providers.

The resulting patient-generated electronic clinic notes save time, are well accepted by patients and increase the likelihood that providers will include plans to address adherence problems and barriers with their assessments, she said.

Alexander Gelbard, MD, associate professor of Otolaryngology, described how REDCap can obtain “eConsent” from people to participate in clinical trials no matter where they live. The method is enabling the study of rare diseases like idiopathic subglottic stenosis, narrowing of the airway.

“This has just dramatically transformed who we can recruit and the speed, cost and ease of recruitment,” he said.

About 230 people from Vanderbilt, VUMC and Meharry Medical College attended the daylong event, which was organized by REDCap application specialist Michelle Fernandez, MS.

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