Two weeks ago, members of the OpenClinica community converged on the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam for the 2015 OpenClinica Global Conference. The event was highlighted by a keynote from John Wilbanks, who inspired us with a great talk on how mobile technology and open source can help break new ground in understanding disease. Smartphone-based engagement tools, used in real world settings, can enable greater participation in research, cut costs, and make new research designs and insights possible. It’s not just theoretical, as his company, Sage BioNetworks, is walking the walk by open-sourcing its e-consent toolkit and working with Apple on studies using ResearchKit.
Our community demonstrated it is also a powerful driver of innovation. Through innovative applications, by integrating with other powerful tools, or augmenting the OpenClinica core with custom built extensions, OpenClinica is playing a role in patient engagement, big data, and translational science. TraIT shared its work integrating OpenClinica into a Translational Molecular Medicine infrastructure (ppt), Aachen University presented its integration of medical imaging applications, and University of Cambridge’s RDCIT team unveiled its integration sophisticated pedigree and phenotyping capabilities to support clinical genomics research (pdf). We got to take deep dives into powerful GUIs for data import, client libraries for OC’s web services API, and data marts/reporting. That’s just a few. Many of these efforts are open source and are being shared freely–a phenomenon unique in the field of clinical research.
We have become a community that rapidly disseminates ideas and code while holding each other to rigorous standards of quality. We are building on a shared foundation of strong data provenance, audit trails, privacy protections, and GCP compliance. OC15 was a reminder of how openly and effectively our community collaborates, and how great we are at welcoming new participants. I left OC15 inspired and motivated by the participants’ passion and creativity.