Database design and data management
The Core programs customized databases to help researchers manage a wide range of interventions, including survey projects and clinical trials with protocols that involve multiple steps. This capability is particularly critical for longitudinal projects, which might otherwise need to engage outside vendors for programming and maintenance tasks, and for investigators whose data collection needs require the capability to interface directly with clinical information systems.
The SDMC builds and maintains process tracking systems that allow investigators to track subjects and their activities over time and that can include multiple tasks for participants. For example, process tracking can collect data on participants who are randomized to one of several interventions, each of which requires them to interact with the system multiple times and be reminded by the system to take actions dependent on their randomization status. Key data elements associated with these activities are stored for evaluation and analysis.
Process tracking databases are often designed to nest within a project website that allows participant access, education, and delivery of various interventions. Most of these systems also incorporate scheduling components that provide project staff with the time and dates for the delivery of planned education or intervention modules. The SDMC collaborates with the Health Communication Core (HCC) (http://www.healthcommcore.org) when developing tracking systems for web-based interventions to ensure ease of use for participants.