The picturesque path of scientific progress is marked by numerous challenges and obstacles. For instance, medical research and clinical trials, in particular, face a wide variety of practical issues. Recruitment, funding, and deadlines are only some of them. Often professionals and sponsors focus on participants, procedures, and outcomes. As a result, researchers may forget about one of the most crucial aspects: Good documentation. However, professionals worldwide agree on the importance of good source documentation. Because, as the saying goes, “If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done.”
Good source documentation is one of the most significant aspects of research. Worksheets, scans, emails, and so much more that may help researchers document and communicate their findings.
Paper-originated Source Documentation:
Usually, paper-originated source documentation is the easiest way to document changes and results. On top of that, when it comes to paper forms, training is not needed. All you need is a pen and a piece of paper to write down your thoughts, right? However, paper-originated source documents make it difficult to access data or perform remote monitoring. In addition, this method is prone to many issues related to readability and confidentiality of data. Therefore, pen and paper techniques have been slowly replaced by electronic formats.
Electronic Health Records:
Medicine and science face numerous technical advancements, so it’s natural to accept the usage of electronic health records in clinical trials.
However, we can witness a research paradox: as access to electronic documentation is not always guaranteed in multi-center trials, experts are forced to print electronic forms. In other words, electronic records are being transformed into paper source forms.