REDCap support increases and boasts new features for researchers and users

Pennsylvania State University

HERSHEY, Pa. – REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, web-based application for databases and online surveys for research purposes. It is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to collect protected health information.

As Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s data collection and storage tool, REDCap now offers updated support service and new features.

Support team streamlined

Until recently, the support process for REDCap was inefficient – requiring researchers to complete multiple forms and redirecting users to different channels based on their location, research or survey requirements. In May 2022, the support structure was streamlined.

The support team is no longer separated by location (College of Medicine, University Park and campuses), so researchers have increased access to a diversity of support staff. Support tickets are routed to the appropriate experts for various types of requests, rather than simply being assigned to the locally available staff. Further, the support group has additional administration ability, which means the team can provide more efficient, timely support.

New support portal

The new support portal incorporates both the previous College of Medicine IT support group as well as the previous REDCap support group. This new structure allows for users’ specific questions to be immediately routed to the right expert within the group.

REDCap services now easier to use and deploy – Recent updates to the RECap support portal make REDCap services easier to use and deploy. Changes to the support portal include:

  • Built-in feedback form, allowing users to identify issues during the support process.
  • New notes system for users and support group to chat in real-time and upload and share documents, creating a more productive user experience in the support process.
  • Streamlined ticketing feature, where support group staff can “trade” tickets with other team members, with all the information, correspondence and documentation remaining intact for review and follow-up.

While the new support portal makes the researchers’ experience better, it also improves the support group’s ability to update their processes more easily and efficiently and better monitor metrics, rendering the support process, from initial ticket to resolution, more transparent.

What more robust support means for new features

REDCap is HIPPA and FERPA compliant, allowing researchers to gather data ethically and within the bounds of IRB requirements. With the new support model, and the increase in support team members, the support group has been able to deploy new features for mobile users and can also support the new MyCap interface.

The new REDCap mobile app allows users to interact with survey data in offline settings while preserving the security features.

The mobile app reproduces REDCap systems on a phone or tablet for use in the field, where internet connections may be unreliable or unavailable. Researchers can continue to collect data in these offline settings and upload the collection later, all while maintaining necessary security via the REDCap API through a secure, encrypted transmission.

Customize the participant side of REDCap – The new MyCap interface allows researchers to customize the participant side of REDCap. The interface allows researchers to do everything from communicate with participants to construct repeating survey (i.e. daily diary) studies. MyCap also supports built-in device tests, like the balance test, which uses the participant’s phone censors to record data.

Collect data in real time – The REDCap mobile app and MyCap create research agility, allowing users to collect data in real time where, in the past, lack of connection or internet access would have created enormous challenges. In the past, REDCap users had to deploy additional, less convenient methods to collect data when internet and Wi-Fi access were limited or unavailable, such as with the offline apps or with expensive, internally built software.

What’s next for REDCap users at Penn State

Testing is currently underway for Flight Tracker, an automated tracking of scholars’ work, including publication, training, funding awards and other activities. This software is useful in tracking the academic careers of scholars and helps with reporting, grant applications and other progress reports.

Have more questions about REDCap and what it can do for your research? Visit the REDCap website

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