Modern clinical trials can be sprawling networks of clinics, people, and data. They can span borders and oceans. They utilize various communication channels. And they involve a multitude of interested parties, including patients, researchers, and other staff. In undertaking such complex trials, it can be difficult to provide sufficient oversight to ensure the quality of the most important and fundamental component of clinical research: the data entered.
To prevent lapses in data quality, many EDC companies offer edit check functionality, whereby their software recognizes errors and fires queries when they arise. But ensuring data quality is only part of the solution; in today’s competitive research environment, in which there’s more pressure than ever for researchers to keep timelines down and stay within budgets, it’s also essential to do so as fast as possible. That’s why the ability to perform real-time edit checks, rather than having to wait until a designated moment to view and address queries, can make or break a study’s chances of success.
Indeed, this ability can be hard to come by. Safeguards of data quality in an EDC typically involve an established range of acceptable data for a given data point; the system fires a query when a piece of data falls outside of that range or isn’t entered. But most EDC companies don’t allow access to those queries until after data is submitted. This means that site staff may not recognize data errors on a form until after they’ve completed and saved it. To address the query, users have to reopen the study and backtrack in order to correct the error. They may be forced to consult their source documents again or to scroll through a lengthy form in search of the query. Over the course of the study—especially one involving long and complicated forms—the time this requires can add up.
Recognizing the various drawbacks to this system, Medrio allows for real-time edit checks, so that queries fire the moment an erroneous piece of data enters the system. Users can rest assured, as they conduct their research, that no data errors lie waiting to cause headaches once a form is closed.
Producing sound data has always been important in clinical research, as has the ability to do so with efficiency. But until recent years, achieving these objectives was less of a challenge. The average clinical trial was smaller and more centralized, making it easier to oversee data entry and keeping the chance of error to a manageable level. Today, larger, farther-reaching, and more complex decentralized studies are growing in popularity among sponsors. A typical study now includes numerous sites across numerous countries, as well as large research teams whose members often work remotely from one another.
The sheer quantity of data collected in such complex trials can be overwhelming. It also creates a much higher risk of human error during data entry than previous generations of clinical researchers, whose studies were smaller and more centralized, needed to manage. (1) This, combined with recent regulations aimed at ensuring data quality that has arisen as a result, (2) create a market for an EDC feature like real-time edit checks that can guard against data entry errors without allowing them to compound or delay a study.
Current market trends make the case for real-time edit checks even more compelling. Not only are trials getting bigger and more complicated, but they’re also getting more competitive, as well. Increased demand for clinical trials has raised the stakes of competition among sponsors, with effects rippling out among CROs, sites, and other involved parties. (3) And as the cost of drug development continues to rise, budget concerns add even more pressure. Researchers today are racing to get their products to the FDA like never before, both to beat the competition to market and to minimize the impact of their studies on their pocketbooks. The time savings created by real-time edit checks make it easier to accomplish these goals.
In light of these conditions, clinical research today is ripe for an EDC tool that can not only detect data-entry errors that site staff may have missed but seamlessly integrate that detection into the research process. From increased error risk, new regulatory compliance burdens, and a higher-than-usual premium on efficiency in an already time-sensitive industry, it’s something of a surprise that only a few EDC providers offer such a tool. Medrio’s real-time edit checks functionality is just one of the many features that make the software uniquely simple, intuitive, and, most importantly, well-positioned to help researchers keep data quality up and timelines down in a competitive industry.