Research depends on collecting, managing and analyzing data. The OAC has served these needs in the Department for decades while continuing to advance the technological capacity and opportunities of our research community. The databases we’ve developed provide customized Clinical Research Management Systems (CRMS) integrated with data collection. With recruitment tools, online screening and consent, longitudinal assessments, automated alerts and secure subject communications, the OAC builds integrated solutions with a high degree of data integrity, completeness and security. Our programmers build custom applications to control research devices, and to process and analyze high frequency signals or time series data. Research data collection methods include our secure, table-driven WebDataXpress online forms, interactive text messaging for Ecological Momentary Assessments and sophisticated smart phone apps. Our decades of combined experience specifically serving the Department of Psychiatry, along with our ability to stay at the forefront of technology, uniquely positions us to build the most efficient, effective and comprehensive research management solutions. Emphasizing reusable code and table-driven systems means we can quickly deploy assessments across multiple platforms: tablets in research or clinical offices, home computers, or apps for smart phones. All collected data is fully integrated immediately into the full CRMS enabling us to send critical alerts, subject reminders or staff notifications of any event.
Contracted Services are funded through grant and hard money support.
To learn more, click on the links below:
Operations and Infrastructure
Many research projects require specialized and dedicated systems due to unique software, hardware or processing requirements. The OAC can install and manage these devices.
- Support for non-standard workstations (e.g., Mac and LINUX)
- Set up devices in a secure, wireless network suitable for research subject use
- Kiosks for dedicated web space connections (e.g., Research Subject Recruitment
and Pre-appointment Assessments)
- Support for program specific servers that are used exclusively for research projects
- FISMA VLANs in conjunction with the University network
- Remote Access – assistance in setting up home computers and phones
- Develop UPMC Security Plans to facilitate collaboration with other institutions
Business Intelligence and Technical Solutions
Data is the raw material of research and quality research depends on data integrity, timeliness and accuracy. We have developed innovative techniques to ensure datasets meet the needs of your research projects.
- Design and maintenance of SQL Server databases
- Tools to support data integrity: Foreign Keys, Constraints, Table Triggers
- Security planning and management
- Training and support in SQL Server, T-SQL, and Microsoft (MS) Access
- Double data entry systems for paper-based forms
- Comprehensive data change logs that track insert, update and delete operations for each record
- Automated Email and Text alerts
- Research subject appointment or assessment reminders
- Staff alerts for any event (e.g., suicidal ideation, form or battery completion, and overdue forms)
- MS Access forms and reports
- MS Access file versioning and auto-download
- Clinical Research Management System (includes study design, subject recruitment, screening, consent, scheduling, and follow-ups)
- Staff salary distribution system (in use at the TNP, N-CTRC, and OAC)
- Powershell programming for data transfers to and from third party database products
- Parsing and cleaning data
- Scheduled tasks such as automated data transfers and data archiving
Sometimes turn-key solutions are not enough, especially for our dynamic research projects. Since our early days in the Sleep Lab we’ve been building reliable custom programs to meet every challenging situation.
- Custom applications for Windows and LINUX platforms
- Signal processing
- Time Series Data (TSD) processing, aggregating, rendering
- Third party software data transfers
- E-Prime, MATLAB, Python, C#, C++, VB, and Java applications
- Custom hardware interfaces
- Stimuli and response tracking
- Data conversion systems, data editing using a graphic user interface and tracking, report generation, process logging, as well as interfaces with multiple database systems to allow many avenues of data mining
- Connectivity with external hardware and the trigger/response interface
- Data driven scheduling systems
- On-line spectral reports
- Real-time clinical reports and file upload systems for video files
- BIOPAC, Mindware BioNex, and Mindware Mobile
- Real-time physiology data-acquisition hardware platforms, both discrete and integrated
Web Development and Maintenance
- A web presence can be a resource for recruitment, screening, consents, participant feedback, data collection and repository. The OAC has been at the forefront of web utilization in research.
- Sites for research projects and groups
- File transfer sites; sites enabling research subjects to upload pictures, audio, and other files
- Sharepoint development and consultation
- Multi-site collaborations
- Research subject portals
- Assessment battery management
- Feedback reports
- Online assessments – Qualtrics and WebDataXpress. Our WebDataXpress library consists of over 2,500 assessments.
- Online recruitment, screening and consent
- The following slideshow highlights the web sites that we have either created or worked on:
Web-Based Data Entry
WebDataXPress (WDX) is a proprietary program developed by the Department of Psychiatry’s Office of Academic Computing. The WDX system, using your existing web browser, is used to securely collect self reports and clinician assessments in over 125 different research projects. More than 2,500 different assessments have been converted to the WDX system.
- Free, customizable, web-based data entry system which interfaces directly with your SQL database
- Pre-approved by the IRB and HIPAA compliant
- A wizard to create forms directly from your table design
- Secure and encrypted with “one-way” data entry. Database objects are not exposed to the web.
- Used throughout the Department in both research and clinical settings
- Compatible with mobile devices
- Comprehensive data tracking – absolutely no data lost
- Seamless battery restarts if connection breaks or entry is aborted
- Easily implemented and customizable “pestering” system
- Research subject is prompted one time for missing data
- Meets IRB’s policies to make all answers unrequired while maximizing collection
- Data validation rules and default values can utilize your existing database
- For example, don’t ask about father if we know the father is deceased.
- Gender-based branching or wording of questions
- Follow up questions based on previous time points
- WDX Demo Site: www.wdxdemo.org
- The following slideshow illustrates some of the customizations that can be done with WebDataXPress:
WDX Demo - Shading
Questions on WDX forms can be customized with shading in any color
Texting and Custom Websites
The OAC’s texting system and custom websites are great tools for research participant data collection and communication. Our texting system uses your existing SMS phone application, and works with EVERY mobile phone (e.g., Android, iPhone, and Windows) without additional applications to install or maintain. The following list shows some of the things that we can do with our texting system.
- “Text for Info” – research subject recruitment tool with staff email alerts
- Over 150 incoming requests/month and growing!
- Research staff can “converse” with recruits using the same text phone number
- Automated appointment reminders or staff alerts
- Interactive Texting system – Great for Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) studies
- Brief assessments at scheduled times or research subject initiated
- Send and receive text messages from any SQL Server database
- Text and phone friendly web solutions
- Text reminders to complete assessments with link to web sites formatted for phone
- EMA at scheduled, random, or research subject initiated times
- All data instantly uploaded to your database
- Sleep and other daily diaries
Want to try out the OAC Texting System? Text OAC DEMO to 412-214-7735