Research data and metadata must be collected, stored, retained, used and disposed of in a way that protects the rights, safety, and wellbeing of the research participants and wider community. REDCap can help meet these data requirements.
Why use REDCap?
REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases. The system was developed by a multi-institutional consortium based at Vanderbilt University. It is hosted on RMH servers and managed by the Business Intelligence Unit.
While REDCap can be used to collect virtually any type of data, it is specifically geared to support online or offline data capture for research studies (including clinical trials) and operations. Data collection is customised for use (study or clinical operation) by the users.
The RMH encourages its staff to use REDCap for operational and research purposes as the data is held at the RMH and the system and security is managed in accordance with the organisation's Business Intelligence Unit and Information Technology (IT) systems and protocols.
What REDCap provides
- An intuitive interface for validated data entry
- Audit trails for tracking data manipulation and export procedures
- Automated export procedures for data downloads to common statistical packages
- Procedures for importing data from external sources
- Data collection, storage and use must remain compliant with RMH policies, guidelines and processes, regulations, guidelines, project approvals, agreement and any other applicable requirement, irrespective of the data formats and tools used to collect and manage the data. It is the user's responsibility to be familiar and comply with these requirements.
- RMH data collected via REDCap accessed through other organisations will be stored on the server at that organisation. While this is not ideal, ownership of RMH data remains with the RMH (subject to study agreements). Researchers are encouraged to transfer data held in REDCap platforms at other institutions to RMH REDCap, after which researchers should request that the project be deleted from the REDCap at the other organisation as well as backups.
See REDCap consortium for more information and history on the database.
Why you shouldn’t rely on Excel
Excel is a great tool for collecting data simply and quickly. Anyone can do it and that is one of its greatest strengths. Unfortunately, it is also its biggest weakness. Anyone can do anything they want in Excel with no consideration for security, privacy, data quality or audit trail. Using a tool such as REDCap can overcome these problems.
Why use REDCap instead of Survey Monkey?
Great question. They both collect survey data, right? It's all about data traceability and security, and for this reason the RMH does not support the use of Survey Monkey or similar platforms for new surveys. For new surveys, staff are encouraged to use REDCap.
REDCap is hosted on RMH servers so the data stays on site. REDCap is a web-based application so it is accessible from outside of the organisation and you can share results with collaborators.
How to access REDCap
Access is via secure login to the RMH REDCap portal.
New to REDCap?
Both RMH staff and externals can request a REDCap database login from the REDCap administrator.
Note that external persons requiring access to the RMH REDCap database to undertake project activities must be sponsored by an RMH employee (study Principal Investigator or Coordinator).
REDCap is available for use free of charge. However, if you require help developing a specific study, a cost may be incurred.
Contact the REDCap administrator via firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding custom development, REDCap extensions and plugins, integration, data extraction or project review.
Technical support at RMH
Technical support includes:
- Processing requests for access to the platform
- Approval of projects for migration from development into production
- Review of changes to projects already in production to ensure no data is lost
- Reset of lost/out-of-date passwords
- Server hosting of REDCap projects
- Backup and maintenance of REDCap overall site project data. Frequency of onsite backup is four times per day. Off-site backup is conducted as per RMH standard secure processes
- Special or custom builds for specific projects (fees apply)
- Extraction of data/data sets collected via other RMH platforms (fees apply)
See REDCap consortium for more information.
While the software is designed to be intuitive, there are various avenues for training in the system: