Biomedical Research Informatics Core (BRIC)
The mission of the Biomedical Research Informatics Core (BRIC), as part of the Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), is to assist MSU researchers to be more competitive in their pursuit of extramural funding, and to be effective in assuring the integrity of their data throughout all phases of research execution. BRIC has been a full service data coordinating center for the Centers for Disease Control Study to Explore Early Development, a multi-site study of Autism, for over ten years. As part of this study, BRIC underwent the lengthy process of becoming a federally certified data center. BRIC has experience dealing with information technology and data management for research projects and addressing the data integrity, security, and confidentiality needs for human subjects research.
- Secure IT Environment—BRIC complements existing campus IT services by focusing on the investigator needs for research data. This includes areas related to data access, data backup, and data security. BRIC has developed the capability of providing MSU investigators with options for a high level of service for data protection including secure computing platforms for analysis and data collection.
- Software – BRIC provides access and support for software solutions that assist with data collection and study management in an affordable and high quality manner. BRIC does this by creating custom applications or supporting existing products such as REDCap and SharePoint. BRIC hosts an MSU copy of REDCap, a web-based application, that can be used for the collection of data by using a computer, Apple, or Android device. Data can collected online or offline through direct data entry, via email, or using text messaging. Customized programing is provided for research projects that require special features to handle unique data sources or to manage logistics of data collection protocol.
- Staff—BRIC contains a diverse group of staff and faculty. BRIC staff have experience and training with laboratory science, in the field data collection, data analysis, working in low resource environments, computer science, and federal data standards. They have worked on a variety of observational, clinical, and interventional studies both domestic and international. They leverage their diverse backgrounds and experience to put together a data support solution that is custom to your work. BRIC staff serve a variety of roles on projects from a small role during project setup, to assisting with data cleaning and structuring of large datasets in preparation for analysis, to a Co-Investigator involved in designing the data collection protocol.
The best way to utilize BRIC services is to setup a meeting to review your data needs. BRIC collaborates with your team and your statistician to provide the highest quality data collection protocol so it’s best to contact BRIC early in the study planning process. BRIC provides pre-proposal support that includes assistance with your NIH human subjects protection and data management plans. Contact BRIC today to find out all the ways that they can assist you with data collection and management. Go to https://ctsi.msu.edu/ and click on ‘Contact Us’.
About REDCap (See https://projectredcap.org/ for more information)
REDCap1 (Research Electronic Data Capture) is used to collect and consolidate data from surveys, questionnaires, medical record abstraction, and other sources. Researchers access the REDCap program by using a computer, iPad, or Android tablet connected to the internet, or by using the REDCap Mobile application for cell phone. These multiple modes of access expand versatility by providing a way to collect data from locations regardless of internet service limitations. The program works in a way that keeps information collected from research participants safe and available only to researchers from the research team. Researchers like using REDCap because it is very user-friendly and makes creating surveys and collecting data easier than other programs.
REDCap offers features that are valuable to researchers:
- makes it possible to offer a subject more questions or fewer questions, depending on how prior were answered
- supports offline data collection
- includes a calendar that can be used for tracking meetings with research subjects
- helps researchers inspect data and ensure it has been accurately recorded
- keeps track of who is entering or editing data
- automatically creates a data dictionary
- provides a very simple method to pull out and track copies of the data
- makes sharing data among research collaborators easy by providing a variety of data formats
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.