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Clinical Research Team FAQ

Browse below for answers to clinical research teams' most frequently asked questions. Please also visit our Complion eRegulatory Binders page for information about the platform, used to maintain regulatory documents for all types of human subjects research.


 How do I use the NMHC medical record for research recruitment?

Epic is the primary electronic medical record system utilized across the Northwestern Memorial HealthCare system.  Epic includes MyChart, which is a secure portal where patients can view portions of their medical record, communicate with their providers, schedule appointments, among other things. Researchers can also utilize MyChart to send a message to patients letting them know they may be eligible for a research study and allow them to indicate their interest.  

Helpful Information about the MyChart Recruitment Process

  • We have only one current workflow approved
  • The number of times you can contact patients is limited
  • There is a one-time setup cost with NM for this service of $1,046
  • Currently, 35% of patients use MyChart (updated July 2021)
  • MyChart is only available in English
  • Currently, approximately 13% of patients indicate interest in participation through the recruitment messages (updated May 2021)
  • You must request permission to use MyChart for recruitment
  • Please refer to the procedural document for more information.

 Which email system should I use to communicate with research participants?

The answer depends on the type of contact. If you are recruiting patients, you must use an NMHC email, per policy. If you are contacting participants, you may use an NU email. If you have emails provisioned by both institutions, NMHC emails are ok to use for research contact.

 Are my emails encrypted at NU and NMHC?

NU emails are not automatically encrypted and must be manually encrypted, per policy. (Emails must be manually encrypted if PHI or PII are contained therein.) NMHC emails are a bit different because they automatically encrypt all outgoing messages. NMHC emails are auto encrypted if the receiving email system accepts the encryption. If the email server does not accept the encryption, then the system sends them to the envelop process you encounter with NU manual encryption. Please follow this link to an NMI FAQ for updated information (you must use NM credentials to access).

 How do I get started if I want to do a research project that would either impact clinical workflows or test something in the electronic health record?

Please review Learning Health System Research Alignment website for more information.

 Who do I contact if I have a general question about doing research at NMHC, such as how to get a letter of support for my grant?

Please send an email to

  I would like to use a remote consenting option for recruitment in my study. What tool should I use?

If you are consenting NMHC patients for research purposes, you must use REDCap eConsent in order to be compliant with our institutional agreements. Otherwise, we encourage the use of REDCap for your eConsenting needs.

 Is REDCap 21 CFR part 11 compliant and approved to use in FDA regulated studies?

Yes, if you are using the FDA compliant workflow as outlined in the documentation, you may use REDCap to collect a valid eConsent. Please navigate to our REDCap information site for more details.