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Guide to using HERON

HERON  (Healthcare Enterprise Repository for Ontological Narration) is a search discovery tool that allows KUMC faculty members 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
  • 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. The following videos are intended to give patients/stakeholders an idea of how their data will be used for research and what types of people will have access to it.

Creating a Search

  • Search by dragging and dropping concepts (e.g., search terms) into groups.
  • Search options include: limit by dates, searching within the same financial encounter, defining multiple occurrences, excluding items and more.
  • Watch a video demonstrating a simple search.
  • See the HERON Blog for a list of data types found in HERON, including date ranges and sources
  • Watch a video discussing the search options within the tool.

Analysis Tools

Each tool requires a patient set, also called patient list.  To create a patient set, click the Patient List checkbox on the search pop-up that appears after you click Run Query.  Once the search is complete, you can access the patient set in the previous query box (lower left section of the screen) by clicking on the search title and opening the results folder.

  • Demographics - quickly creates a bar graph for demographic information (e.g., gender, race, etc.) for one or two patient sets.
  • Timeline - create a visual representation for patient observation occurrence.  Observations are marked with a tic on a timeline.  Hover over the observation tic for additional information, such as time or value when available.
  • Cancer Survival Analysis (Kaplin Meier) - Analysis tool for Kansas University Hospital Tumor Registry data.  This tool allows you to select a cancer site, an outcome, a timeframe and a stratification to plot the survival rate.  Note: it only works for Tumor Registry data (within the Cancer Cases folder).
  • Multi-Cohort Survival Analysis - Like the Cancer Survival Analysis tool, histograms are created representing survival rates.  Unlike the Cancer Survival Analysis tool, the Multi-Cohort Survival Analysis tool is not limited to tumor registry data or just one patient set.  Compare two patient sets on any criteria.

Data Use Request This video shows step-by-step how KUMC faculty members make their requests for data sets, both identified and de-identified.


Simple Search This video shows how a simple search is created and executed. It also demonstrates browsing and searching for terms in addition to placing concepts into groups for searching.


Interface Overview This video shows the functionality available in the HERON interface, including options to focus or expand a search.


Temporal Constraints This video shows an introduction to independent search constraint and the same financial encounter constraint.


Searching by Codes Introduction to using the search by code function to find diagnoses and procedures.


Timeline and Demographic Tool Learn to use the timeline and demographic analysis tools.


Age vs. Age at Visit Learn the difference between "age" and "age at visit".


ED Visits Learn how to find patients who have been seen in the emergency department.


Medication Modifiers Learn about medication modifiers and how to use them to limit your search.


Define Sequence of Events Learn to use the define sequence of events in HERON.


"Shopping Cart" Learn to create a "shopping cart" which can contain all of the variables you are interested in analyzing and receiving in your data set.


Demographic Folder Learn to navigate the demographic folder.


Video Timing Out / Previous Queries Learn how to find previous queries and what to do when queries time out.


Shared Folder Learn how to share queries with other HERON users.