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Improving speed and accuracy of data entry

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is an international postgraduate centre devoted to the research, education, training and application of tropical medicine. Naturally, the LSTM must deal with large quantities of clinical research data on a daily basis, funnelling in from all around the world. Document Capture Co approached the LSTM to offer our help and services some four years ago, and we’ve been working together more or less ever since. We caught up with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s James Smedley to find out how we’ve been getting on.

We first encountered DCC when they did a presentation at the school on the use of Teleform and data collection in a hospital setting. They covered the technical use of Teleform in medical data scanning, including prescription forms and other applications for the emergency services. The presentation helped to give us an indication of the kind of clients DCC can work with..’

‘It was around 12-to-18 months before we started working with DCC, as we had a new project due to start at this time. We looked on the web at the other companies available before contacting DCC, and they’ve since helped us to implement a Teleform data capture system here at the LSTM. We’ve been using Teleform for nearly three years now, and once you disregard the funding and necessary payment processes involved the system was up and running within a couple of months at the very most.’

‘Our main goal was to speed up the data entry processes of paper-based data into the database. Previously we used double data entry – which means that it’s typed in twice – and then a third person would come along and discrepancy-manage those two data entries. Because Teleform has a much lower transcription error rate, it means that we no longer have to perform that double data entry process.’

‘We run two networks in Malawi and were attempting to process multiple users across these two sites, which was proving to be a bit of a challenge. However, this was a problem we were able to overcome with the help of DCC.’

‘Implementing the Teleform system itself was surprisingly simple. Jatish (Jatish Patel, Document Capture Co Project Manager) came over to Liverpool and helped to train four members of staff, of which three worked in Malawi and in turn trained the rest of the user-base there. If you’re in software development or data management then creating forms inside Teleform is quite simple, really. Once you’ve done one it’s like riding a bike.’

‘Jatish has a really good knowledge of how the system works, both from a frontend perspective and in terms of backend shortcuts. We were able to trial a number of different possible solutions until we got to the correct one, whereas if we didn’t have Jatish there it may have taken us a lot longer to get to the solutions we need.’

‘Normally, if an issue can’t be found in the knowledge base then you could be stuck for a couple of days before someone comes back with a solution. We can consult the knowledge base ourselves and exploit that resource, but Jatish’s knowledge and understanding of how Teleform works is a far more valuable, useful service.’

‘As we perform clinical trials we have lots of regulatory governance applied to us, so as a part of good clinical practice it is important to retain the trails for any changes we make to the data. We didn’t understand how that would work from Teleform so we’ve had to develop something external to handle those processes. If we had to change anything about DCC’s service, it would have been useful if they could have provided additional bolt-on tools to help us track these data trails.’

‘Ultimately, though, we’d definitely recommend DCC’s services to other companies in the clinical research and healthcare sectors.’

James Smedley, Senior Database Administrator