Electronic Clinical Trial Protocol Distribution via the World-Wide Web: A Prototype for Reducing Costs and Errors, Improving Accrual, and Saving Trees

Lawrence B. Afrin, Valarmathi Kuppuswamy, Barbara Slater, Robert K. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Clinical trials today typically are inefficient, paper-based operations. Poor community physician awareness of available trials and difficult referral mechanisms also contribute to poor accrual. The Physicians Research Network (PRN) web was developed for more efficient trial protocol distribution and eligibility inquiries. The Medical University of South Carolina's Hollings Cancer Center trials program and two community oncology practices served as a testbed. In 581 man-hours over 18 months, 147 protocols were loaded into PRN. The trials program eliminated all protocol hardcopies except the masters, reduced photocopier use 59%, and saved 1.0 full-time equivalents (FTE), but 1.0 FTE was needed to manage PRN. There were no known security breaches, downtime, or content-related problems. Therefore, PRN is a paperless, user-preferred, reliable, secure method for distributing protocols and reducing distribution errors and delays because only a single copy of each protocol is maintained. Furthermore, PRN is being extended to serve other aspects of trial operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

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