OpenClinica 3.0 Features Preview: Part III

Welcome to the 3rd and final installment of the OpenClinica 3.0 features preview!  This post covers the new Web Services interface that is part of 3.0 and the job scheduler that can be used to automate Data Import and Data Export jobs.

OpenClinica 3.0 allows for programmatic interaction with external applications to reduce manual data entry and facilitate real-time data interchange with other systems.  The OpenClinica web services interface uses a SOAP-based API to allow the registering of a subject and scheduling of an event for a study subject.

OpenClinica provides a WSDL (Web Service Definition Language) that defines a structured format which allows OpenClinica to accept “messages” from an external system. For example, an EHR system could register subjects for a study in OpenClinica without direct human intervention. At the same time, the EHR could also be programmatically scheduling study events for these subjects. More information about the OpenClinica API can be found on the OpenClinica developer wiki.

An early reference implementation conducted by clinical lab Geneuity used the API to create a web service which inserts data programmatically into OpenClinica CRFs directly from laboratory devices. See the post by Geneuity’s Colton Smith below.

Another major productivity tool in 3.0 is the introduction of a Job Scheduler for automating bulk data import and export.  With this feature users can define a job that will generate an export at a specified time interval.  The Jobs Scheduler can also be configured to regularly scan a specific location for CDISC ODM files and run data imports when a new file is available. This feature can be particularly helpful in automating routing functions, such as the incorporation of lab data into OpenClinica from an external system.  The lab data does need to be in a valid CDISC ODM format (this can be accomplished via another great open source tool called Mirth), but it does save a person from entering data in two applications separately.

At time of this post, OpenClinica 3.0 is currently released as a beta3, but the production ready application is soon to follow. The application is passing through the highly rigorous strictures of our quality system (think Navy Seals training for software) and the output will be fully validated and ready of use in roughly a month. Needless to say, I, and everyone else here at Akaza is very excited to be so close to releasing 3.0. It is already quite clear that this release will have a momentous, positive impact on the community.

I love the smell of politics in the morning

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last six months, you will have noticed that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are casting votes for the next candidates for our presidential elections in November.

One of the links making the rounds of healthcare-based blogs is this link, which leads to a breakdown of each candidate’s position on healthcare reform.  Some interesting points from the above, and the slightly more photogenic health08.org:

  • Hillary Clinton is supporting a “paperless” health information technology system in order to reduce costs.
  • Barack Obama plans to invest $50 billion toward adoption of electronic medical records and other health information technology.
  • Bill Richardson (Tufts grad, w00t!) would reduce spending on health care administration by providing grants for adoption of health information technology.
  • Denis Kucinich, besides creating a Universal Health Plan, would promote an electronic health record to reduce paperwork.
  • And it’s not just a Democrat thing either; Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain would promote deployment of Health IT and electronic medical records.

You may ask, what’s this all got to do with the OpenClinica clinical trials software?  Seeing as how we are partially sponsored by the NIH’s Commercialization Assistance Program, this has quite a bit to do with us.  We are focused more and more on the future of electronic data capture, a system that goes hand in hand with electronic health records.

So, as the great American slug-fest we call the Presidential Election 2008 begins, we can look forward to a lively debate about healthcare from all candidates, whether they are red state or blue state.