REDCap is a secure web application designed to support data capture for research.
Would your study benefit from web-based data entry? REDCap might be for you.
What is REDCap?
- REDCap is an acronym for Research Electronic Data Capture. REDCap originated out of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
- REDCap is a web-based system for data collection. Data entry operators or people taking an online survey enter data in a web browser, either locally or from remote locations. The data is stored centrally in a secure MySQL database.
- REDCap should be considered for any clinical trial in which web-based data entry is desired. It can accommodate multiple-site studies.
- The REDCap Consortium is comprised of over 1,700 active institutional partners from Clinical and Translational Science Awards, General Clinical Research Centers, Research Centers in Minority Institutions, and other institutions. The consortium supports this secure web application designed specifically to support data capture for research studies, but also used for many other secure online database needs. The REDCap application allows users to build and manage online surveys and databases quickly and securely, and is currently in production use or development build-status for more than 225,000 projects with over 317,000 end-users spanning numerous research focus areas across the consortium. For additional information, visit the REDCap website.
- You can find additional information about REDCap on the UMN RedCap help page.
Is anyone using this tool?
Over 2,500 people have used REDCap here at the University of Minnesota, either using it here on campus or from any other location where they have an internet connection.
How is REDCap supported?
- CTSI supports REDCap at UMN.
- There are video introduction sessions to REDCap available to help you determine if this is the right tool for your study.
- CTSI offers twice-monthly REDCap question & answer sessions to help people understand how to use REDCap.
What is the cost?
Use of REDCap is available at no cost to the investigator. Additional assistance from a database developer may be available at an hourly rate.
Do I need to install this software? Who can help me?
- You do not need to install this software. The University of Minnesota, via the CTSI, supports REDCap for use by any research project. This is fully supported on a University server complete with daily back-ups. The University also provides all technical support to load up-to-date software versions, the correct hardware configurations and technical support.
- The University of Minnesota's IT staff will not support unauthorized versions of REDCap as we are fully supporting a single instance of REDCap as the most appropriate use of resources.
What are the advantages of using REDCap?
- This tool is useful for small to medium sized studies to support effective data capture.
- Up-front cost: $0.00
- Easy and intuitive to design, develop, and use data collection forms/screens.
- Screen layouts are clear and simple to navigate.
- Interactive editing includes range checks, data type checks, valid date checks, and branching logic.
- REDCap provides audit trails for tracking the history of data entry and revision.
- REDCap permits downloads of data to Excel, PDF, SAS, SPSS, Stata and R.
- REDCap is being used extensively by other CTSAs, including Vanderbilt, Mayo Clinic, and Harvard.
- REDCap software includes models for a number of standard data collection instruments (e.g., RAND SF-36, many others)
- There are many training videos available on the UMN REDCap website.
- REDCap supports web-based randomization.
- REDCap’s Data Quality module supports reporting on problems with data consistency within and across forms.
- In projects in which REDCap’s Data Resolution Workflow (often called 'data queries' in clinical trials and studies) is enabled, users are allowed to use a workflow for documenting the process of resolving issues with data in the project.
What are the limitations of REDCap?
- REDCap does not prevent acquisition of data that is out of range. It provides warning messages regarding out-of-range values but these can be overridden.
- REDCap does not support billing. As a result, other systems may need to be considered and added to your plan, when you use REDCap.
- Like ANY software system, REDCap can be misused. If you want to design a form/data entry module which is completely free-format with no editing, REDCap will not stop you from doing so.
How should I describe REDCap in a grant or IRB application?
You may include this paragraph in your grant or IRB application, but only if you plan to do what it says you will do (using data checks and restricting access to those who should have access):
Data for this study will be entered into a REDCap database, which uses a MySQL database via a secure web interface with data checks used during data entry to ensure data quality. REDCap includes a complete suite of features to support HIPAA compliance, including a full audit trail, user-based privileges, and integration with the institutional LDAP server. The MySQL database and the web server will both be housed on secure servers operated by the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center’s Information Systems group (AHC-IS). The servers are in a physically secure location on campus and are backed up nightly, with the backups stored in accordance with the AHC-IS retention schedule of daily, weekly, and monthly tapes retained for 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months, respectively. Weekly backup tapes are stored offsite. The AHC-IS servers provide a stable, secure, well-maintained, and high-capacity data storage environment, and both REDCap and MySQL are widely-used, powerful, reliable, well-supported systems. Access to the study's data in REDCap will be restricted to the members of the study team by username and password.
How should I cite REDCap?
Please include the citation below in study manuscripts using REDCap for data collection and management:
The project described was supported by Award Number UL1TR000114 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center For Research Resources or the National Institutes of Health. Study data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted at the University of Minnesota.¹
1Paul A. Harris, Robert Taylor, Robert Thielke, Jonathon Payne, Nathaniel Gonzalez, Jose G. Conde, Research electronic data capture (REDCap) - A metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support, J Biomed Inform. 2009 Apr;42(2):377-81.