When developing medical research, doctors and scientists rely on precise data. But what if a patient’s care is measured in trimesters rather than sick days? Flexible and accurate data management, supported by Indiana University’s research survey tool, REDCap, keeps the Hoosier Moms study on track, whether a mom-to-be chooses to join the genetics-based study when she is 8 weeks or 18 weeks along in her pregnancy.
The Hoosier Moms study is part of IU’s Precision Health Initiative Grand Challenges program, led by IU School of Medicine. The study, with over 13,000 data entries, aims to improve understanding of possible genetic links between gestational diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
“With REDCap’s web-based surveys, patients have the ability to answer questions in the comfort of their homes,” said Kathleen Flannery, one of the study’s coordinators.
REDCap’s ability to manage a range of dates within its “Date Calculated Field” module can be individually tailored to a patient’s pregnancy data, and researchers can easily tell when to schedule a follow-up appointment or blood draw.
“We are able to calculate the range of dates during which these follow-up appointments could occur automatically within REDCap. It saves time and helps reduce errors,” said Graham Hogg, a research coordinator on several studies in the OB/GYN division.
The ability for research teams to quickly and easily create projects and surveys is invaluable.
The tool also helps expedite study visits. “It is more convenient for the patient to not have to spend as much time in the appointment and a benefit for research staff to spend more time performing other tasks,” said Flannery.
Thestudy, with participants in Indianapolis and Evansville, has preliminary data showing genetic risks for gestational diabetes. IU Bloomington’s Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics will compare data gathered from the Hoosier Moms study with over 10,000 samples from the National Institutes of Health Genetics of Gestational Diabetes Model project. This collaboration seeks to better understand the genetics of gestational diabetes during pregnancy, as well as the increased risk of a mother developing Type 2 diabetes later on.
Events that happen during pregnancy can have life-long impacts for both moms and babies.
As bioinformatics becomes increasingly relevant to medical research, free access to data management tools like REDCap enables new discoveries in personalized medicine.