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REDCap day highlights tool’s new features, global impact

Feb. 16, 2023, 8:53 AM


by Mia Garchitorena

Established in 2016, REDCap Day (Research Electronic Data Capture) is an annual event featuring presentations and workshops for the Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College research community. For the third year in a row, REDCap Day was hosted virtually.

There were three morning-long sessions, Feb. 1-3, drawing 415 attendees from a total of 158 departments representing Vanderbilt and Meharry. See the full agenda here.

Paul Harris, PhD
Paul Harris, PhD

“The REDCap Day Conference is designed to inform and empower researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical College,” said Paul Harris, PhD, professor of Biomedical Informatics, director of the Office of Research Informatics at the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) and creator of REDCap.

“REDCap is an evolving platform, so it’s a great venue to share high-level ‘what’s new and what’s next?’ information for the platform along with deeper-dive demonstrations for newer features and functions,” he said.

Stephany Duda, PhD, speaks during this year’s virtual REDCap Day.
Stephany Duda, PhD, speaks during this year’s virtual REDCap Day.

“Attendance was high across all three days, and we received dozens of requests for the video recordings and presentation slides. I think this demonstrates the value of REDCap education and the REDCap Day event to our Vanderbilt community,” says Stephany Duda, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and host of REDCap Day.

“Our entire Vanderbilt community has contributed to the development of REDCap through ideas, feedback, testing, training and support. REDCap Day is an educational event, but it is also a celebration of the impactful research support tools we have created together.”

There was a total of 17 presenters including a welcome and introduction from Gordon Bernard, MD, Melinda Owen Bass Professor of Medicine and professor in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine at VUMC; Wesley Self, MD, MPH, Vice President for Clinical Research Networks and Strategy at VUMC, and Harris.

All slides and recording for these sessions are available here (no login required).

Workshop topics included:

  • Rob Taylor, lead developer of REDCap and manager of application development at VICTR, highlighted some new features, including better organization in the File Repository (users can use APIs to import and export files and more), fully automated importing and exporting of files, adding comments in calculations and logic in REDCap, and, for the first time ever, embedding file attachments in texts and emails.

“Lots of users have had data import issues before, and data that people want to import and export seems to be increasing exponentially by the year,” said Taylor. “We are working on asynchronous data imports for large data uploads so users can upload massively large data files. Users will then receive an email when their data has finished importing.”

This year’s session also included pragmatic tutorials in selected areas of REDCap functionality like MyCap and Clinical Data Interoperability Services (CDIS).

  • Dionne Grant, associate application analyst in VICTR, spoke about MyCap, a participant-facing mobile application used to capture frequent or recurring participant-reported outcomes.

The functionality of MyCap was integrated into REDCap base code for easier authoring and faster project deployment. The CDIS is a special feature that imports eStar clinical data into an existing REDCap project. For more information about MyCap, check out the MyCap website, publication, resources, and a list of MyCap use cases. CDIS continues to evolve and allows seamless integration of data exchange between eStar and REDCap.

  • Yama Farooq Mujadidi from the University of Oxford presented on how the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group utilized REDCap to manage operations and data collection for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 multicenter, multi-country (UK, Brazil, and South Africa) vaccine trials.

“While we have historically reserved plenary sessions for Vanderbilt and Meharry research teams, this is a really interesting use case and shows the global impact and power of REDCap for very large trials,” says Michelle Fernandez, principal application analyst in VICTR and lead planner for the 2023 REDCap Day conference.

Other workshops were devoted to training sessions for beginner to intermediate and advanced users. The REDCap Day team also introduced new features such as “REDCap News You Can Use,” REDCap’s “Hidden Treasures” and Shared Library, the REDCap mobile app and more.

REDCap, which was launched in 2004, was conceived and developed at VUMC by Harris. The REDCap platform and consortium are supported by the National Institutes of Health (UL1 TR002243) and is used by 2.4 million users at 6,328 institutions in 151 countries.

If you need assistance with REDCap, email or check out this resources page and list of instructional videos. If you’re interested in custom programming and development for REDCap projects, email

REDCap also hosts a virtual REDCap Help Clinic four times a month for users needing on-one assistance with REDCap projects. Sign up here.

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