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Research Electronic Data Capture

Research electronic data capture refers to collecting data in electronic form instead of paper. At Scanoptics, we do electronic data capture every day. However, few people are aware of the fundamentals of research electronic data capture. Modern electronic data capture applications such as REDCap typically operate on the web with thin clients. Web-based applications work on web servers. On the other hand, thin clients refer to a web browser or the tool users utilize to access the web-based application. You do not need additional plugins to use electronic data capture applications. Data may be captured by an EDC system electronically at its source or in paper form and later transcribed into the system.

EDC Typical Users

Many clinical trials initiated today use online electronic data capture applications. These applications are categorized into three main groups: sponsors, sites, and CROs. A site electronic data capture application is used by entities that coordinate data collection from a study location such as a hospital or clinic. The role of entering research data into the EDC system is usually tasked to the study coordinator. In a clinical setting, the collected data is reviewed and signed by the primary physician in charge of patient care.

The sponsor is the individual or organization that owns the clinical trial. On the other hand, the CRO is the organization that contracts sponsor to facilitate the research or data collection exercise.

Advantages of Electronic Data Capture Software

Modern clinical trials and research activities utilize EDC systems. There are many advantages of using EDC software.

Clean Data

One of the benefits of EDC software is that it enforces various data quality aspects. EDC systems feature edit checks and data verification features that ensure data captured into the system meets specific ranges and formats before being accepted into the database.


Electronic data capture translates to more efficient data collection processes. One of EDC systems' notable features is they guide study coordinators through the data collection process by requesting data only required for particular circumstances at specific times. EDC systems facilitate data clarification, which helps to eliminate discrepancies. EDC systems also help resolve data collection issues and minimize in-person site visits in a data collection project.

Faster Data Access

EDC systems provide study coordinators with almost real-time data access in research and data collection projects. A considerable benefit of real-time data access is it enables users to make decisions faster and supports adaptive data collection designs.

EDC systems' benefits translate to two main things: increased efficiency and higher productivity. Consequently, EDC systems can reduce the cost and time it takes to complete clinical trials and research projects.

EDC Trends

Earlier electronic data capture systems were known as remote data capture (RDC) systems. Compared to today’s system, RDCs, with their in-built client-server architecture, are pretty passe. The main drawback of RDCs is they lacked the ability to interchange data between systems.

Today's EDCs come with data integration features, which means they can be used with other applications, including coding, event reporting, supply management, and randomization software. In addition, EDCs can import data from other sources, including electronic health records and lab reports.

EDCs improve data collection productivity and efficiency. Please contact Scanoptics at (800) 543-8681 for the most intelligent data management.


Research Electronic Data Capture
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