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A cloud-based platform called Cognito Forms was used by the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study in its quest to find a cure for ocular tuberculosis, according to Priyankar Bhunia of OpenGov Asia.
COTS developed its own data entry templates that used dropdown menus but minimized the use of free text fields to avoid the use of jargon (one person enters right eye but another uses RE).It also had embedded logic to minimize keystrokes by altering the questions related to data entry.For example, if a patient says only one eye is involved, then all entry fields for the other eye is disabled.
There are also embedded prompts to support relevant criteria during data entry such as making anonymous patient data when entered into the form.The instructions specified how to categorize patients without having to identify them.Researchers would have access to the identity of their patients that is not accessible to researchers from other sites.
Data processing and analytics were also incorporated into the template and a program for automating data processing was developed using the R program and Microsoft Excel.
Dr.Rupesh Agrawal, COTS lead researcher, said the template enabled them to get data from 25 research centers located in 10 countries.The data led to the publication of their first report on JAMA Ophthalmology.
The use of the Cognito Forms fostered global cooperation and master the limitations of current scientific explanations for ocular tuberculosis.Other advantages include better coordination of a multinational clinical study and standardized data collection to extract meaningful information on the said eye disease.
The results of the study included new discoveries that challenge existing theories about the disease.For instance, geographic locations affected the way patients narrated their conditions.The research also found out that a certain type of uveitis in the back of the eye was a strong indicator of ocular tuberculosis and that polymerase chain reaction was very effective in diagnosing ocular TB.
Also, 80 percent of patients who participated in the study were cured of the disease after being subjected to anti-tubercular medication.