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Many clinical trials leverage real-world data. Typically, these data are manually abstracted from electronic health records (EHRs) and entered into electronic case report forms (CRFs), a time and labor-intensive process that is also error-prone and may miss information. Automated transfer of data from EHRs to eCRFs has the potential to reduce data abstraction and entry burden as well as improve data quality and safety.
We conducted a test of automated EHR-to-CRF data transfer for 40 participants in a clinical trial of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. We determined which coordinator-entered data could be automated from the EHR (coverage), and the frequency with which the values from the automated EHR feed and values entered by study personnel for the actual study matched exactly (concordance).
The automated EHR feed populated 10,081/11,952 (84%) coordinator-completed values. For fields where both the automation and study personnel provided data, the values matched exactly 89% of the time. Highest concordance was for daily lab results (94%), which also required the most personnel resources (30 minutes per participant). In a detailed analysis of 196 instances where personnel and automation entered values differed, both a study coordinator and a data analyst agreed that 152 (78%) instances were a result of data entry error.
An automated EHR feed has the potential to significantly decrease study personnel effort while improving the accuracy of CRF data.
As clinical trials were rapidly initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Data and Safety Monitoring Boards (DSMBs) faced unique challenges overseeing trials of therapies never tested in a disease not yet characterized. Traditionally, individual DSMBs do not interact or have the benefit of seeing data from other accruing trials for an aggregated analysis to meaningfully interpret safety signals of similar therapeutics. In response, we developed a compliant DSMB Coordination (DSMBc) framework to allow the DSMB from one study investigating the use of SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 to review data from similar ongoing studies for the purpose of safety monitoring.
The DSMBc process included engagement of DSMB chairs and board members, execution of contractual agreements, secure data acquisition, generation of harmonized reports utilizing statistical graphics, and secure report sharing with DSMB members. Detailed process maps, a secure portal for managing DSMB reports, and templates for data sharing and confidentiality agreements were developed.
Four trials participated. Data from one trial were successfully harmonized with that of an ongoing trial. Harmonized reports allowing for visualization and drill down into the data were presented to the ongoing trial’s DSMB. While DSMB deliberations are confidential, the Chair confirmed successful review of the harmonized report.
It is feasible to coordinate DSMB reviews of multiple independent studies of a similar therapeutic in similar patient cohorts. The materials presented mitigate challenges to DSMBc and will help expand these initiatives so DSMBs may make more informed decisions with all available information.
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