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.


No financial support



MS 036 Figure 1.pdf (179 kB)
Figure 1. Communication is shown from a Health Data Source, such as an EHR, to REDCap. An EHR deposits patient information into a secure FTP repository, which can then be accessed via SFTP-2-REDCap using credentials provided by the source. A secure SSL connection completes the transfer, and saves the record(s) into REDCap’s database.

MS 036 Figure 2.png (88 kB)
Figure 2. Connection screen for SFTP-2-REDCap.

MS 036 Table 1.pdf (172 kB)
Table 1. List of imported data points related to the Pneumonia Severity Index and their identifiers.

MS 036 Table 2.pdf (84 kB)
Table 2. Volume of data and time taken for import of three data files containing simulated data.



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