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IU docs work to improve acute heart failure mortality rates--thanks to data capture tool

REDCap allows researchers to manage multiple studies at sites throughout the United States, securely and reliably

Dr. Peter S. Pang is passionate about acute heart failure, or AHF. The condition involves a rapid onset of new or worsening symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting or severe weakness, and even coughing up a pink foamy mucus—signaling that the heart is unable to pump or receive blood at the rate the body needs.

Understandably, these symptoms prompt emergency department visits for many patients. Most will be admitted to the hospital, and over a quarter of hospitalized patients will be dead or re-hospitalized within 30 days post-discharge.

Dr. Pang, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, seeks to improve post-discharge mortality rates and prevent readmission for AHF patients. Dr. Pang has spent the last decade studying many elements of the condition, including diagnosis and various treatment-related considerations.

According to Dr. Pang, despite such poor outcomes for patients, doctors don’t have a single therapy to give to patients initially to change this outcome. In his recent research, Dr. Pang has explored the possibility of using risk stratification in emergency departments as a way to determine the need for hospitalization, as nearly 80 percent of patients presenting with AHF are admitted, at staggering costs.

With a team of physician scientists at other universities, Dr. Pang recently completed the TACIT study, exploring the potential role of troponin to identify AHF patients at risk for adverse events. The entire study was conducted using Research Electronic Data Capture, or REDCap.

REDCap is a self-managed, secure, web-based platform designed to support data collection and data management for research, operations support, and quality improvement projects.

REDCap is available to Indiana University researchers as a result of IU's partnership in the REDCap Consortium. Sponsored by the UITS Research Technologies  Advanced Biomedical IT Core (ABITC), IU REDCap is one of several research-related collaboration tools offered by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI).

Dr. Pang and his collaborators have multiple ongoing studies at sites throughout the United States, and collect all their data through REDCap. As Pang notes, “REDCap offers a solution that’s secure, reliable, and easy to use across multiple platforms. Security is a major challenge when dealing with private health information and we take this very seriously.”

Within the emergency department, Dr. Pang sees patients with acute presentations of their chronic illnesses; he sees these visits as opportunities to improve patients’ overall healthcare journeys, and would like to use his research to do so. Pang and his collaborators seek to change the perception of the ED as a draw on healthcare resources, seeing it instead as the beginning of a partnership in management of heart failure. The group is incredibly grateful to the patients who participate in their research, and to the physician and nursing colleagues who contribute their efforts to improve outcomes for acute heart failure patients.

REDCap handles their various study types while providing the robust system Dr. Pang and his collaborators need in order to determine the best possible path forward in emergency department care for acute heart failure patients.