J Turpin, R Rose, B Larsen. An adaptable, transportable web-based data acquisition platform for clinical and survey-based research. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2003;103(4):182–186. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2003.103.4.182.
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Given the need for multicenter clinical trials to support evidence-based treatments, the authors hypothesized that the process of gathering large amounts of data from disparate clinical sites could be facilitated through direct input of clinical and survey data through a Web interface. A series of data collection instruments was created and published as Web pages to support a clinical study performed at Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center. The most challenging tool to implement was the visual analog scale, which required special programming. Specific Web pages allowed research study participants to input their own data, while other Web pages were restricted to use by the investigator for inputting clinical and laboratory observations. Data from these sources were automatically combined in a single spreadsheet by the Web administrator in a manner that maintained the confidentiality of participants. Subsequently, the system was tested from a remote site (Chicago), and data were captured at Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center. This test involved a variety of data including the visual analog scale. Although this system provided a facile method for collecting and analyzing a large amount of data in almost real time, with a demonstrable savings of time and money, the authors believe the more important use for this data collection system is in large multicenter clinical trials. Hence, the authors commend its use for support of large outcomes studies for osteopathic researchers engaged in interinstitutional efficacy studies.
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