From the Society

Acquiring a REDcap data entry skill set

Learning to streamline data collection


Editor’s Note: The Society of Hospital Medicine’s (SHM’s) Physician in Training Committee launched a scholarship program in 2015 for medical students to help transform health care and revolutionize patient care. The program has been expanded for the 2017-2018 year, offering two options for students to receive funding and engage in scholarly work during their first, second, and third years of medical school. As a part of the program, recipients are required to write about their experience on a biweekly basis.

To give a status update on my project, I am almost finished collecting data for the Emergency ICU Transfer cases in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The project timeline is going as planned, and I should be finishing my data collection within the next week or so. I have begun to match control subjects by age strata, time of transfer and hospital unit to the Emergency ICU Transfer cases, and hope to finish that within the next week as well.

Farah Hussain, second year medical student at the University of Cincinnati  and student researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medicine

Farah Hussain

The data collection process has been a bit long and tedious, as I’ve been careful to identify and record the correct dates, transfer times, and clinical characteristics for each patient. Many of these patients suffer from several complex chronic conditions, and we are recording several aspects about their hospital stay. I’m predicting that the data collection for the control subjects will be more straightforward and quick, as it doesn’t require me to record as much detail about the clinical deterioration event. After this next week, I hope to begin statistically analyzing the results, which brings us one step closer to understanding why these events happen and how to prevent them.

To streamline data collection and make it available for analysis in the near future, I set up a REDcap data entry form for my project. This was initially a challenge because even though I have entered data using this online tool before, I had no experience creating my own forms. With a lot of help from Google, people who worked around me, and our campus REDcap administrators, I was able to set this up pretty quickly and independently. I have noticed that this tool is widely used for clinical research, and am glad that being able create project instruments within REDcap is now part of my skill set. This was a unique learning experience for me that I wasn’t expecting to gain. It helped me understand what needs to be done specifically in order to execute a clinical research project, such as the one I’m working on alongside my mentor.

I have also learned a little medical knowledge from reading patient charts as I’m collecting data. For example, for procedures such as intubation, I have been seeing what specific medications are being administered for the pediatric patient. It has been interesting to learn some medical details behind lifesaving procedures, before even having clinical exposure in my medical training.

Farah Hussain is a 2nd-year medical student at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and student researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Her research interests involve bettering patient care to vulnerable populations.

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