Working with sensitive data

If your research involves human subjects, your work may need to be overseen by Stanford's Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB's goal is to protect human research participants in both medical and non-medical research projects. You should contact the IRB when you are planning a research project involving human subjects. You may also want to review information from the Stanford Research Compliance Office on protecting the confidentiality of patient information, as well as information from the Dean of Research on human subjects and stem cells in research

Other pages on this site with related information:

Software for sensitive information

The following are tools available to Stanford researchers who are collecting and managing patient health or other sensitive information. It is not recommended that you collect sensitive data using Excel. Use Excel only for analysis of de-identified or anonymized data. 

Visit Clinical Informatics for more information and to request a free consultation about using these tools or working with sensitive data.

REDCap logoREDCap

REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is an application for building and managing online databases. The Stanford Center for Clinical Informatics (SSCI) runs and supports a secure, local Stanford installation of REDCap for the Stanford research community at no cost. REDCap provides a web-based interface for collecting data with data validation and includes the ability for automated export to statistical packages. The software also includes data logging for HIPAA compliance and the ability for administrators to define access rights on a per-user basis. Data stored in production REDCap databases is not automatically purged, but archiving of completed projects within REDCap is recommended. In the event the REDCap service were to be replaced or discontinued, all project owners would be notified and plan devised that would allow ample time for owners to export their data.

Visit the Clinical Informatics web site for more information on REDCap.

Stride logoSTRIDE

The Stanford Center for Clinical Informatics (SSCI) provides access to clinical information for research purposes through STRIDE -- Stanford Translational Research Integrated Database Environment. The cornerstone of STRIDE is a clinical data warehouse that integrates historical and current clinical data from the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford Hospital and Clinics. STRIDE is a highly secure environment utilizing encryption, fine-grained access control, robust auditing and detailed data segregation. Additionally, STRIDE has a robust access control framework with well-defined access granting authorities and access control groups. Consequently STRIDE meets or exceeds the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy and Security regulations. Privacy protection is further enhanced by requiring IRB approval for all research projects using STRIDE clinical data.

Visit the Clinical Informatics web site for more information on STRIDE.

Qualtrics logoQualtrics

Qualtrics is an online survey tool with customizable templates, the ability to send and track invitations and reminders, and in-depth reporting. The service includes the ability to generate reports, view statistics, and export data for analysis. Qualtrics may be used to store and transmit Low, Moderate, and High Risk Data containing patient health information (PHI). It may not be used to store and transmit other types of non-PHI High Risk Data.

Visit the Clinical Informatics web site for more information on Qualtrics.