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The process for data collection in multicenter trials may be troublesome and expensive. We report our experience with the spreadsheet function in Googledocs for this purpose.
In Googledocs the data manager creates a form similar to the paper case record form, which will function as a decentral data entry module. When the forms are submitted, they are presented in a spreadsheet in Googledocs, which can be exported to different standard spreadsheet formats.
For a multicenter randomized clinical trial with five different participating hospitals we created a decentral data entry module using the spreadsheet function in Googledocs. The study comprised 332 patients (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00815698) with five visits per patient. One person at each study site entered data from the original paper based case report forms which were kept at the study sites as originals. We did not experience any technical problems using the system.
The system allowed for decentral data entry, and it was easy to use, safe, and free of charge. The spreadsheet function in Googledocs may potentially replace current expensive solutions for data acquisition in multicenter trials.