Data capture

Modern medical systems and laboratories can record a large amount of data from an individual within a few minutes. In the past, many types of data have been summarized before they were recorded in a patient's medical notes or on a case report form. This means that mistakes in the summary process could not be corrected or even discovered. In addition, only the summarized data were available for analysis. Potentially, this meant that innovative methods of analysis could not be applied to the data and new hypotheses not tested.

At the TCC, we are pioneering methods for capturing data from clinical apparatus and saving them directly into study databases. For example, we can read data from apparatus used to read advanced glycation end-products, measure blood pressure and perform electrocardiographs and spirometry. It is even possible to transfer data on study participants, such as age and height, from the study database to the apparatus, ensuring an even higher level of accuracy. In addition, contacts between study staff and participants can be automatically recorded in a database and letters to participants and their general practitioners can be automatically generated and saved electronically. This reduces the need for physical storage of correspondence.

In addition, the computer network of the TCC is fully integrated into the clinical computer network in the University Medical Center Groningen. This means that we can automatically read data from this network into clinical study databases. For example, we have developed procedures to download blood, urine and other test results from the servers of the central laboratories. They are then automatically read into clinical study databases.

Our methods of data capture enable large amounts of data to be recorded, analysed and interpreted efficiently and accurately. In addition, the original data are available for you to use in innovative methods of data analysis and to test new hypotheses. This is true, even if these methods and hypotheses are only suggested many years after the data were collected.

Examples of data capture