The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


Introduction: Obtaining clinical data from healthcare sources is necessary for conducting clinical research. New technologies now allow for connecting a research database to Electronic Medical Records remotely, allowing the automatic import of clinical research data. In this paper we design and evaluate a REDCap extension to import clinical records from an external health database.

Methods: Many hospital EHRs are designed to use secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) repositories for data communication. We develop a REDCap plugin to connect to an external SFTP file repository for the import of clinical record data. We use the CAPO instance of REDCap and a sample set of clinical pneumonia variables for the connection.

Results: The plugin allows the input of record data in a much shorter time than traditional data entry in addition to being less error prone. However, the formatting of the data in the SFTP file repository must be exact in order for the import to be successful. This can require setup time on the part of EHR IT staff.

Conclusion: Developing a direct connection from EHR to research database can be an effective way to lower the overhead for conducting clinical research. We demonstrate a means to do this using REDCap and SFTP.


The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.