HERON Training

Access HERON from a secure KUMC network at https://heron.kumc.edu

Need help?  Watch our training videos or see below for frequently asked questions.

What is HERON?
HERON (Healthcare Enterprise Repository for Ontological Narration) is a search discovery tool that allows you to search de-identified data from various hospital and medical center sources that include but are not limited to Epic/O2 (the hospital electronic medical record), IDX (the clinical billing system), KU Hospital Cancer Registry, KU Biospecimen Repository, REDCap (selected projects), Social Security Death Index, and University HealthSystem Consortium (Quality Measure Data).  By combining the various data sources, researchers can look at the data in new ways not available when viewing data in one source at a time. 

Why should I use HERON?
HERON is a powerful tool that can save time during your research process.  Searching across multiple data resources allows you to view data trends, key in on your research criteria, modify your search requirements and see how the data changes.  This is a good tool to employ at the start a research project as it saves time by helping you focus and define your research.  The HERON tool also provides analysis tools, such as the Timeline and the Cancer Survival Analysis tools.

How do I access HERON?
Three criteria need to be met before you obtain view-only access to do patient count queries.

  1. You are a qualified faculty member or are sponsored by a faculty member.  Access to de-identified data is non-human subjects research and does not require approval by the HSC/IRB . 
  2. You are up-to-date on your Human Subjects Training.
  3. You sign the system access agreement.

Not sure if you meet these criteria?  Log onto https://heron.kumc.edu.  Look at the upper left corner of the screen.  All 3 check-boxes should be checked.  Any missing checks indicate a requirement not met.

Need to be sponsored?  Here are instructions or a training video for the faculty member to sponsor you.

Can I access HERON off campus?
HERON is available from the KUMC network.  If you are working outside the KUMC network, you will need to use a KUMC VPN connection.  KUMC VPN is available to University faculty, staff and UKP employees.  Sponsored students have to access HERON from a KUMC network.

How do I search HERON?
HERON allows you to browse or search for concepts and easily drag and drop into groups to create a search.

Video: Perform a simple search
Video: Tool interface overview

What data is in HERON?
HERON integrates data from local clinical systems (clinical systems such as EPIC and IDX), University systems (REDCap, BSR, Tumor Registry), and national systems (Social Security Death Index).

When creating your search, it is important to understand where the data comes from as well as the time limits for each type of data.  For example, do not search Flowsheet data targeting events in 1975 as it is not available in HERON.

Refer to the HERON blog for the latest release announcement for an overview of date ranges and sources for the various types of data within HERON.

How is the data de-identified?
HERON does not include any identifying information, such as a Medical Record Number (MRN), name, address or birth date.  In an effort to further de-identify the data, we shift dates to a random date with 365 days prior to the actual date.  The same random time shift is applied to all events for that patient.  For example, a patient named Birdy was born on 1/1/1950 and was diagnosed with asthma on 4/1/1965.  HERON randomly shifts Birdy's birth date 60 days to 11/3/1949 which means the asthma diagnosis date is also shifted 60 days to 2/1/1965.  HERON also de-identifies a patient's location by limiting searches to a distance from KUMC as opposed to searching a specific zip code.

Can I get more than just the number of patients that meet my search criteria?
Faculty members can submit a request for de-identified or identified data.  The request will be reviewed by a committee comprised of members from KUMC, KUH and KUP.  Turn-around time on requests vary but generally expect 1-2 weeks for approval and receipt of data set.  See instructions for requesting a data set or watch the training video.

How do I get a list of patients I can contact who meet my research criteria?
You can search in HERON to see if patients consenting to be in a research study meet your research criteria.  Create a search for the criteria needed in HERON (e.g., Females over the age of 55 with diabetes and migraines).  Limit your search with the Frontiers Research Participant Registry concept and exclude those patients deceased by dragging the deceased concept from demographics a group.  Once you search is complete, submit a Frontiers Research Participant Registry request. Please note that the Frontiers Research Participant Registry is only available to KUMC faculty.
 
Learn more about the Frontiers Research Participant Registry and searching HERON to find consenting patients.

I need help…what do I do?

  • Attend the Lunch and Learn training clinic in 3001D Student Center (12-1:30pm) on the first and third Tue of each month (schedule).  Sign up in advance to share your topic or questions but drop-ins are welcome.
  • Contact the clinical informatics coordinator by completing the feedback form or calling 8-7688. 
  • If you would like the informatics to be a component of your grant and you need a collaborator, request an initial consultation to determine the scope and needs of your project (by selecting informatics project).