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Many groups turning to REDCap for COVID-19 tracking

Mar. 26, 2020, 9:31 AM


by Paul Govern

REDCap, a software application created and developed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has found widespread use in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re finding many instances — locally, regionally, nationally and several international examples — where various groups are using REDCap to support COVID-19 surveillance,” said REDCap’s creator, Paul Harris, PhD, MS, professor of Biomedical Informatics, Biostatistics and Biomedical Engineering.

Paul Harris, Ph.D., MS

At last count, REDCap had 1.2 million users, working with 4007 institutions in 137 countries. REDCap is a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases. While it can be used to collect virtually any type of data, it is specifically geared to support online or offline data capture for research studies and operations. Use of REDCap is free for non-profit organizations.

Harris has compiled a report with examples of how the application is being used in the response to COVID-19.

“We’re primarily trying to promote awareness and sharing so that teams in the public health community can learn from one another and standardize approaches when trying to solve the same general problem,” Harris said.

Here are a few examples of how REDCap is being used in response to COVID-19:

  • VUMC Occupational Health is using REDCap surveys, delivered via email, to monitor any employees thought to have been exposed to COVID-19. The initial survey gathers general information about the employee’s exposure and inquires if they are symptomatic, and twice-daily follow-up surveys screen for symptoms.
  • Seattle’s public health authority is using REDCap surveys to support COVID-19 testing and aggregate reporting, and the Department of Health in the state of Washington is using REDCap to support community-based testing sites.
  • The University of Washington’s Institute of Translational Health Sciences is using REDCap for community surveillance, first responder tracking, and monitoring of COVID-19 in pregnant women.
  • Tennessee’s Department of Health is using REDCap for COVID-19 monitoring.
  • The Ohio Department of Health and local health departments in Ohio are using REDCap to monitor people exposed to COVID-19.
  • South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases is using REDCap for COVID-19 contact tracing.

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