Data Management Series: PDC vs EDC

Dr Anuj ParkashWritten by | BIOSTATISTICS, GENERAL

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Research studies often involve the collection of a large amount of data. After data collection, data have to be processed and analyzed, with results and summaries for publication. For a smooth process, the study requires a well-defined system of data management.

The main steps of data management process in a research study are:

  • The raw data have to be entered into the computer, and checked through double entry;
  • The data have then to be rearranged into an appropriate form for analysis (often according to a statistical analysis plan (SAP));
  • The data have to be archived, so that they remain accessible throughout subsequent phases of a study, and afterwards.

An alternative to paper-based data collection (PDC) is internet based electronic data collection (EDC), where the investigators enter data directly in the electronic database using the internet. PDC and EDC process has a difference of the costs. The image given in this blog shows the process of PDC and EDC.

People can have a strange kind of cognitive disagreement when they ask to shift from paper record to electronic records. In India, still many people refuse online banking because they are concerned about security. Something similar is the case in old organizations. When organization converts from paper to electronic documents, many employees suddenly become concerned about the security or the privacy of their data even if the organization has not conventionally been concerned about the security of its paper records.

Paper records are vulnerable because of inappropriate access, data tampering and loss or misfiled. There are many advantages of going digital such as:

  • Miniaturization
  • Easy to use
  • Searchability
  • Portability
  • Labour saving
  • Upgradation & update

There are, of course, several advantages of EDC, however, there are few cons with ECD too, such as software risk, media compatibility and reliability.

A more effective way is to remove the human component in a business process. No doubt EDC has more advantages over PDC. So if you looking for Electronic Document Management System, be careful and find the best solution before shifting to EDC from PDC.

Last modified: 25/09/2018

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