5 Common Pitfalls when Coding a Study Protocol for Patient Recruitment

At IGNITE DATA, we believe helping GPs connect with their patients, to improve patient recruitment, is vital to better research.

Ensuring patients find out about the right clinical trials can be a daunting task. Study protocols are often complex beasts with multiple criteria. Fortunately, IGNITE DATA have tamed the process.

Transforming scientific requirements to a search query that identifies the correct patients takes a real-life understanding of both the health record and criteria.

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We caught-up with one of IGNITE DATA’s expert coding analysts to compile 5 common pitfalls to avoid when coding for patient recruitment:

1: Not watching out for ‘in opinion of investigator’

You will always over code if you miss that line, it is critical to analyse whether the data can really tell you this, otherwise you’ll exclude patients that might well be eligible.

2: Coding for something that has been recorded recently

E.g. has had a stroke in the previous 8 weeks.

By the time a patient gets enrolled onto the study, this time-period would have passed, and the patient would potentially be eligible to participate.

3: Forgetting to add reasonable time frames to some codes

E.g. pregnancy.

If you only code for pregnancy without adding a time frame, then all women who had ever had that code on their EHR would be excluded!

4: Coding for anything that is measured

E.g. % of artery stenosis or blood test results

Complex measurements can be out of date quickly and may not be up-to-date on EHR records, so ideally need to be checked at screening.

5: Coding for drugs and conditions not specifically named on protocol

Some criteria may be broad, a good eye for detail and knowing the most common conditions and drugs is critical. Accidentally missing a key condition just because the protocol isn’t specific can lead to a loss of patients.

Talk to IGNITE DATA to understand how we can successfully help to support GPs with your next study and enhance your patient recruitment.