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HERON Training

Access HERON from a secure KUMC network or via the KUMC VPN at

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 sources 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, and modify your search requirements and see how the data changes. This is a good tool to employ at the start of 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 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 a 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. 

What data is in HERON?

HERON integrates data from local clinical systems (clinical systems such as EPIC and IDX), University systems (REDCap, Cystic Fibrosis Registry, 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.

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 within 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 HRON (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 in a group. Once your 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 how to search HERON to find patients who are eligible for your research and who have provided consent to be contacted for resesarch through the Frontiers Research Participant Registry.  

I need help... what do I do?

  • Introduction to REDCap and HERON: Beginner Training Clinics Tuesdays 12pm-1pm CST. Click here to sign up. This is an introduction for new users or users needing a refresher
  • For questions or help with projects: REDCap & HERON Office Hours, Monday & Wednesday 4pm-5pm CST, Friday 9am-10am CST. Click here to sign up. This is not a beginner course; 15-20 min appointment to assist with specific questions
  • For support by email: Contact MI Support at
  • For project development by MI: Contact MI Support at Funding is required
Last modified: Jul 22, 2021