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2.  Risk communication in clinical trials: A cognitive experiment and a survey 
Background
A Royal Statistical Society Working Party recently recommended that "Greater use should be made of numerical, as opposed to verbal, descriptions of risk" in first-in-man clinical trials. This echoed the view of many clinicians and psychologists about risk communication. As the clinical trial industry expands rapidly across the globe, it is important to understand risk communication in Asian countries.
Methods
We conducted a cognitive experiment about participation in a hypothetical clinical trial of a pain relief medication and a survey in cancer and arthritis patients in Singapore. In part 1 of the experiment, the patients received information about the risk of side effects in one of three formats (frequency, percentage and verbal descriptor) and in one of two sequences (from least to most severe and from most to least severe), and were asked about their willingness to participate. In part 2, the patients received information about the risk in all three formats, in the same sequence, and were again asked about their willingness to participate. A survey of preference for risk presentation methods and usage of verbal descriptors immediately followed.
Results
Willingness to participate and the likelihood of changing one's decision were not affected by the risk presentation methods. Most patients indicated a preference for the frequency format, but patients with primary school or no formal education were indifferent. While the patients used the verbal descriptors "very common", "common" and "very rare" in ways similar to the European Commission's Guidelines, their usage of the descriptors "uncommon" and "rare" was substantially different from the EU's.
Conclusion
In this sample of Asian cancer and arthritis patients, risk presentation format had no impact on willingness to participate in a clinical trial. However, there is a clear preference for the frequency format. The lay use of verbal descriptors was substantially different from the EU's.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-55
PMCID: PMC2949696  PMID: 20868525
3.  The cancer translational research informatics platform 
Background
Despite the pressing need for the creation of applications that facilitate the aggregation of clinical and molecular data, most current applications are proprietary and lack the necessary compliance with standards that would allow for cross-institutional data exchange. In line with its mission of accelerating research discoveries and improving patient outcomes by linking networks of researchers, physicians, and patients focused on cancer research, caBIG (cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid™) has sponsored the creation of the caTRIP (Cancer Translational Research Informatics Platform) tool, with the purpose of aggregating clinical and molecular data in a repository that is user-friendly, easily accessible, as well as compliant with regulatory requirements of privacy and security.
Results
caTRIP has been developed as an N-tier architecture, with three primary tiers: domain services, the distributed query engine, and the graphical user interface, primarily making use of the caGrid infrastructure to ensure compatibility with other tools currently developed by caBIG. The application interface was designed so that users can construct queries using either the Simple Interface via drop-down menus or the Advanced Interface for more sophisticated searching strategies to using drag-and-drop. Furthermore, the application addresses the security concerns of authentication, authorization, and delegation, as well as an automated honest broker service for deidentifying data.
Conclusion
Currently being deployed at Duke University and a few other centers, we expect that caTRIP will make a significant contribution to further the development of translational research through the facilitation of its data exchange and storage processes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-60
PMCID: PMC2626590  PMID: 19108734
4.  DADOS-Survey: an open-source application for CHERRIES-compliant Web surveys 
Background
The Internet has been increasingly utilized in biomedical research. From online searching for literature to data sharing, the Internet has emerged as a primary means of research for many physicians and scientists. As a result, Web-based surveys have been employed as an alternative to traditional, paper-based surveys. We describe DADOS-Survey, an open-source Web-survey application developed at our institution that, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to be compliant with the Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys (CHERRIES). DADOS-Survey was designed with usability as a priority, allowing investigators to design and execute their own studies with minimal technical difficulties in doing so.
Results
To date, DADOS-Survey has been successfully implemented in five Institutional Review Board-approved studies conducted by various departments within our academic center. Each of these studies employed a Web-survey design as their primary methodology. Our initial experience indicates that DADOS-Survey has been used with relative ease by each of the investigators and survey recipients. This has been further demonstrated through formal and field usability testing, during which time suggestions for improvement were incorporated into the software design.
Conclusion
DADOS-Survey has the potential to have an important role in the future direction of Web-survey administration in biomedical research. This CHERRIES-compliant application is tailored to the emerging requirements of quality data collection in medicine.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-34
PMCID: PMC1586000  PMID: 16978409
5.  Duke Surgery Research Central: an open-source Web application for the improvement of compliance with research regulation  
Background
Although regulatory compliance in academic research is enforced by law to ensure high quality and safety to participants, its implementation is frequently hindered by cost and logistical barriers. In order to decrease these barriers, we have developed a Web-based application, Duke Surgery Research Central (DSRC), to monitor and streamline the regulatory research process.
Results
The main objective of DSRC is to streamline regulatory research processes. The application was built using a combination of paper prototyping for system requirements and Java as the primary language for the application, in conjunction with the Model-View-Controller design model. The researcher interface was designed for simplicity so that it could be used by individuals with different computer literacy levels. Analogously, the administrator interface was designed with functionality as its primary goal. DSRC facilitates the exchange of regulatory documents between researchers and research administrators, allowing for tasks to be tracked and documents to be stored in a Web environment accessible from an Intranet. Usability was evaluated using formal usability tests and field observations. Formal usability results demonstrated that DSRC presented good speed, was easy to learn and use, had a functionality that was easily understandable, and a navigation that was intuitive. Additional features implemented upon request by initial users included: extensive variable categorization (in contrast with data capture using free text), searching capabilities to improve how research administrators could search an extensive number of researcher names, warning messages before critical tasks were performed (such as deleting a task), and confirmatory e-mails for critical tasks (such as completing a regulatory task).
Conclusion
The current version of DSRC was shown to have excellent overall usability properties in handling research regulatory issues. It is hoped that its release as an open-source application will promote improved and streamlined regulatory processes for individual academic centers as well as larger research networks.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-32
PMCID: PMC1552051  PMID: 16872540
6.  Manuscript Architect: a Web application for scientific writing in virtual interdisciplinary groups 
Background
Although scientific writing plays a central role in the communication of clinical research findings and consumes a significant amount of time from clinical researchers, few Web applications have been designed to systematically improve the writing process.
This application had as its main objective the separation of the multiple tasks associated with scientific writing into smaller components. It was also aimed at providing a mechanism where sections of the manuscript (text blocks) could be assigned to different specialists. Manuscript Architect was built using Java language in conjunction with the classic lifecycle development method. The interface was designed for simplicity and economy of movements. Manuscripts are divided into multiple text blocks that can be assigned to different co-authors by the first author. Each text block contains notes to guide co-authors regarding the central focus of each text block, previous examples, and an additional field for translation when the initial text is written in a language different from the one used by the target journal. Usability was evaluated using formal usability tests and field observations.
Results
The application presented excellent usability and integration with the regular writing habits of experienced researchers. Workshops were developed to train novice researchers, presenting an accelerated learning curve. The application has been used in over 20 different scientific articles and grant proposals.
Conclusion
The current version of Manuscript Architect has proven to be very useful in the writing of multiple scientific texts, suggesting that virtual writing by interdisciplinary groups is an effective manner of scientific writing when interdisciplinary work is required.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-5-15
PMCID: PMC1180829  PMID: 15960855

Results 1-6 (6)