Some months ago, I attended a conference that was held at the Cité Universitaire in Paris. It was about e-tools and social networks for epidemiology. The program and slides can be found on the website.

The aim of this meeting was to overview current efforts and/or realizations to recruit and involve a maximum number of participants in a given cohort, secure adherence via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and collect data in an undemanding way.

Some weeks before, I was also looking for electronic data capture systems, and here is what I found. Most of the systems support Good Clinical Practice for the design, conduct, performance, monitoring, auditing, recording, analyses, and reporting of clinical trials.

  • OpenClinica (Windows or RedHat, or as a web service) provides a community edition which does not include OpenClinica Rules Designer and OpenClinica DataMart but yet offers a lot of features.
  • Clinic MED is a web-based solution for clinical data management .
  • Open MRS, not free and not much information on their homepage except there are live demos.
  • REDCap, from Vanderbilt University, is a PHP/MySQL-based system for web surveys, and it is available in several languages.
  • GNU Health supports electronic medical record and information system more generally. Well, this GNU but I haven’t browsed past the homepage.
  • OpenEHR consists in “systems and tools for computing with health information at a semantic level, thus enabling true analytic functions like decision support, and research querying”. It looks interesting, although it doesn’t seem to provide ready-to-use solutions.
  • OpenEMR is free and it focus on electronic health records, with clinical decision support and patient management (billing, prescription, etc.)

Regarding simple surveys, REDCap looks like a good alternative to LimeSurvey, in my opinion. Since it is free and allows to manage more complex database (biobank, cohort, etc.), I believe this would be my first choice if I had to recommend a flexible on-line management system.