Open source software for clinical research

A number of my readers have asked me about open source software for clinical research; I recommend taking a look at OpenClinica. From their introduction:

It facilitates protocol configuration, design of case report forms, electronic data capture, retrieval, and management. OpenClinica supports HIPAA guidelines, and is designed as a standards-based extensible, modular, and open source platform.

It has all the right buzz-words: it’s web-based, written using Java, and is pretty simple to use.

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2 thoughts on “Open source software for clinical research

  1. I have had several conversations with Cal Collins of Akaza Research, creators of OpenClinica, over the past few years and can testify that this is the real thing. We gave it serious consideration when we were changing data management systems a couple of years ago when it first came out, and decided it wasn’t ready for our needs at that point. We were, however, very impressed with the quality of both the design and the coding.

    Looking back, I’m not sure we made the right decision going with a commercial system. We need a lot of custom work, and with a commercial system, the build-or-buy decision is often missing the “build” option.

  2. Great, glad to hear it. I totally agree with build versus buy and in fact the issue “going commercial” isn’t really the important aspect but whether the commercial system is open source. There are lots of very good commercial software products out there now that are offering open source licenses for local modification. Hopefully more people will start to demand source code from their vendors and not purchase systems they can’t modify easily (or at least have plug-in architectures).

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