Internet-based data collection
The SDMC licenses an advanced survey software package, DatStat Illume, that can manage all aspects of internet-based surveys, including e-mailing invitations to potential study participants, sending reminder emails, and reporting results. The software supports programming surveys with complex skip patterns, multiple drafts, and frequent changes of survey instruments. Survey responses and survey administration variables (e.g., date of completion, time to complete, number of items presented, number of items answered, etc.) are easily extracted and exported to other programs for analysis. Illume also incorporates robust data security safeguards, ensuring compliance with HIPAA requirements and other laws and regulations governing privacy of health and other personal information. The SDMC also serves as the DFCI institutional support group for REDCap Survey software.
Mail, telephone, and in-person data collection
SDMC staff offer extensive experience with all aspects of traditional data collection processes. Tailoring the route of mail delivery can have a significant impact on response rates among certain populations, and the Core can advise you on the optimal method of survey delivery via the various mail routes available. Core staff will assemble all materials for paper surveys, assure proper identification with code assignment to appropriate pieces, and collate and mail the survey. Core staff will also track survey completions/opt-outs and perform subsequent waves of mailings to non-responders according to the research protocol. Response statistics are maintained and available to investigators throughout the process.
Medical record review and abstraction
SDMC staff can obtain relevant demographic and clinical study data via medical record review, working closely with investigators to tailor data collection efforts to the specific needs of each study. Record review is offered as a stand-alone service (i.e., to an investigator looking to correlate biological data with clinical risk factors and outcomes) or as a complement to projects involving survey methods.
The SDMC offers advanced capabilities for efficient and accurate data entry with quality assurance measures that ensure a clean data set prior to analysis. For some projects, data entry is conducted through automated form scanning using ReMark OCR software.
The Core provides investigators with descriptive statistical reports as well as univariate and bivariate statistical analyses. The Core maintains Wincross software that produces timely data reports, including sub-group analysis and statistical testing. The Core also works with biostatisticians to preparing and develop datasets in SAS and SPSS for advanced statistical analysis.
Training and oversight
The SDMC is available to provide training and oversight of project staff involved in data collection, data entry, quality assurance, reporting, and other tasks related to the implementation of both interventional and observational research involving survey data collection.