Conducting research is the lifeblood of humanity’s progress. Without it, society as you know it never would’ve reached this point. From technology down to societal responsibilities, research has left its influence in multiple areas. And the medical field is one of the many proofs of how beneficial research is.
But considering research as the answer to almost everything isn’t as simple as that. For proper results to come in, concrete groundwork must be set in place. And the best place to start is by having a well-designed form.
What Is An eCRF Design?
Also called an electronic case report form, eCRF is heavily utilized while conducting investigations for researchers to collect the data they need. Because to put it simply, it’s a digital form designed as a questionnaire for collecting data about the target of the study. So, you can say it plays a significant role in studies, especially in clinical fields. Considering how technology continues to advance, data collection has become much easier to accomplish now that case report forms are transitioned from paper-based to electronic mediums.
However, there’s no guarantee that eCRF is effective for all audiences despite its convenience. After all, answering questions can still get confusing when they all lack sense and order in the first place. So, if you’re planning to handle an eCRF, understanding how it’s designed will help, whether you’re only a participant or part of the research group itself.
1. Follows A Standard
Before anything else, you have to bear in mind that it’s impossible to collect an equal amount of data if the study doesn’t have uniformity. Lacking variables, vague questions, and inadequate results—are only some issues a poorly designed eCRF could possess. Although they sound like simple hindrances, they can easily affect the study as a whole when all the researchers gain dissimilar results.
Therefore, it should go without saying that following strict guidelines is necessary for the eCRF to bear any result the researchers are looking for. However, while there’s a distinct reason behind the research group benefiting from it, even the participants can take advantage of it. After all, the guideline uses the focus of your study as a reference.
If you click for info, you’ll learn that the following models, such as the Operational Data Model (ODM) and Clinical Data Acquisition Standards Harmonization (CDASH), are some standards followed by most industries, particularly clinical trials. Incorporating ODM guarantees the data you collected from previous clinical trials will be stored for future use. Whereas CDASH ensures the data collected aligns with other standards used.
As you can see, adhering to these standards can set a clear path for their studies to follow, considering researchers in this area require thorough yet straightforward data. By extension, your participants will be able to see where the research is heading as well. Now they have a grasp of what the eCRF entails, the data they’ll provide will be adequate according to the study’s goal.
2. Parts Of An eCRF Design
Although the research incorporates a concrete framework, there are still many ways for participants and researchers alike to completely miss the point of the eCRF made. One of them is due to underutilizing the parts which give the form detail. To achieve that clarity, researchers (and participants) must keep a close eye on its components.
- Labels. Since they act as titles, these labels should concisely describe what needs to be answered in the form. Whether it’s the label form or simply a group label, distinguishing each part from the other will provide clarity for both researchers and participants.
- Item Description. With the labels’ generalization introducing the topic, having a hint or description to explain further the piece of data will help the participant with comprehension. This way, they’re up to speed on what’s expected from them. In return, the study can gain adequate information.
- Edit Checks. Despite the form’s thoroughness, it’s unavoidable for the participant to still encounter a few issues, namely when the data they provided went outside what’s expected. If it happens, a small error message should pop up to explain why they can’t input that answer. To remedy it, they’re coerced into consulting the researcher.
By ensuring these components are used appropriately, the likelihood of acquiring vague or inadequate data will be reduced significantly.
3. Calculates In Real-Time
Since it’s completely digitized, eCRF can run calculations as soon as every piece of data gets compiled. Researchers no longer need to go the extra mile to record everything, nor do they have to pour their blood, sweat, and tears into calculating the data collected. To push things even further, multiple researchers can all collaborate in analyzing what’s given to them and pull up any references from previous eCRFs that can support current findings.
This way, if there are any problems still encountered today, researchers can collect new data to cross-reference with old data. For example, efficacy is still hindered by age in some vaccines, especially in the younger age group. As part of confirming whether or not the vaccine is effective yet accommodating for everyone, experts need to collect another round of data to take another step regarding caution.
Why You Need To Understand eCRF Designs
Conducting research is meant to improve society’s way of life continuously. However, that’s easier said than done with how challenging it is to collect data. But with the proper tools, researchers can gather the data they’re looking for and eCRF is one of those tools. Although, despite its effectiveness, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive the data you need, especially if it’s not made properly. Therefore, understanding how an eCRF is designed improves the research’s conciseness.