The Clinical Trials Unit at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU CTU) recently decided to use WebLearn to help stream-line the administration of follow-up in a clinical trial. They commissioned a small amount of development of the web services interface to the Sign-up tool to provide integration with their appointments database. NPEU CTU contacted an external consultant to do this work for them.
The NPEU CTU has a WebLearn site that will be used for booking two-year follow-up assessments for approximately 1400 infants who are participating in the I2S2 trial (a randomised controlled trial of iodine supplementation in preterm infants). The site will be accessed securely by a trial co-ordinator and two IT professionals from the NPEU CTU, and approximately seven clinical assessors located across the UK.
Each appointment is made on the Microsoft Access I2S2 administrative database by the I2S2 Trial Co-ordinator and sent automatically to WebLearn using the newly developed Sign-up tool web services interface. WebLearn then generates an email notification which is sent to the assessor.
The assessor is able to view details of the appointment using either a networked computer or a mobile phone. They also have the ability to accept or reschedule the bookings. Each assessor has their own link which presents their own appointments on a web page which can then be printed.
A Schedule Tool in a separate WebLearn site will be used for assessors to mark days when they are not available. This calendar is superimposed on the assessments calendar to prevent booking “conflicts”. The co-ordinators and assessors are also able to see the assessment and annual leave bookings on their internal Outlook calendars using the recently developed “Private URL” service.
This trial of using WebLearn in an NPEU CTU trial will hopefully lead to other beneficial developments in future.
WebLearn has replaced a time-consuming manual email/phone-based system without the need to invest significant sums of money in proprietary or bespoke software. It has allowed co-ordinators and assessors working in different organisations to work together securely, without compromising patient confidentiality. This would not have been possible without WebLearn.
Author: Stella Khenia (NPEU)