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8 Tips For User-Friendly ECRF Design


Nowadays, most of our communication takes place on digital platforms. This communication could include data collection from study participants using an electronic case report form (ECRF). Patients would complete these forms with the necessary information for lab technicians or study associates to analyze and compare. The information must be accurate and reliable, making a digital platform perfect for this purpose.

Case reports contain information that could form part of the patient’s history for their specific illness or condition. For this reason, ECRF design would need to be user-friendly and unique to the patient or their medical diagnosis:

1. Descriptive Heading For The Form

Receiving the completed forms relies on the patient’s cooperation. And when they’re unsure what it’s about or why it’s relevant, they’re less likely to comply. At first glance, patients would indicate what will be discussed or asked in the form.

The team that receives the completed forms would know precisely how to proceed with the information when they know which study it is for, making it another good reason to have a descriptive heading. Staff could use Ryze to design these forms, among other electronic platforms for their patients.

2. Clearly Stated Group Headings

Clusters of information could be grouped to make them more relevant to each other. For example, a section deals only with the symptoms patients are currently experiencing. Clients may feel less overwhelmed when there are separate questions instead of one long list. Headings would help separate the information for them and make it more understandable.

3. Specific Item Headings

Short, specific headings are another way to condense the information on the form for the patient. Having a description like ‘blood pressure’ with an open space for the patient to complete is a good way of getting the necessary information without much hassle.

This clear and concise way of asking for data would make it easier for the patient and the staff to process the information for use at the laboratory.

4. Items Should Be Explained

More complex headings or items would need an explanation of what’s expected by the patient for that question. Not all patients will know how to answer questions and may need further direction. Explanations could be an option to get the best possible answers and data that researchers can use.

5. Add Defined Response Fields

It’s all well to ask the necessary questions for data collection, but when it’s unclear where this data should be entered, the patients may not provide the best response. Putting the response field in a box, underlining it, or making it a different color to the rest of the form may help patients realize where the information should be typed.

6. Optional Choice Or Selection Fields

Some questions have ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, one or two options, or specific choices that patients can choose between on each form.

These fields to tick, mark, or choose from a drop-down menu would make things more practical. It’d also ensure that the correct response is given to the question. With one or two options, the data is more precise, and researchers could easily distinguish all the information provided.

7. Data Verification Options

Finger errors are common on digital platforms. Data verification could be included when the form is submitted to prevent these errors.

This function would check the answers patients gave to parameters set by the research team. When values fall outside these parameters, the answer could be flagged. Patients could re-enter the information, or the staff looking at the data could query the input.

8. Use Standardized Language

There’ll be many case reports or feedback forms for clinical trials that are submitted per patient. The patients would get used to the language use of the questions after a few times completing it, making it easier for them to understand.

If the staff constantly changes the wording on these forms, patients may get confused and enter incorrect information. Another possibility is that the team may get confused with the data when analyzing it. If they don’t understand what they’re looking at, it may cause unnecessary back and forth communications between departments and the patients.

Measuring It All Up

Communication of all kinds is best received when clear and concise. Eliminating misunderstandings and misrepresentations of data would be a top priority for any research team. Patients are the source of information, and connecting the data with the laboratory could be done with an electronic case report form. When these forms are user-friendly, patients and staff can effectively use them. Data is conveyed quickly, securely, and accurately with ECRF design.