Electronic case-report forms of symptoms and impairments of peripheral neuropathy

Can J Neurol Sci. 2002 Aug;29(3):258-66. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100002043.


Background and objective: For the conduct of controlled clinical trials, epidemiologic surveys or even of medical practice of varieties of peripheral neuropathy, the usefulness, error rate and cost-effectiveness of scannable case-report forms has not been studied.

Materials and methods: The overall performance, the frequency of the problems identified and corrected, and the time saved from use of a standard paper case report form was evaluated in multicenter treatment trials, single center epidemiologic surveys and in our neurologic practice. The paper case report form (Clinical Neuropathy Assessment [CNA]) for pen entry at study medical centers for patient, disease and demographic information (Lower Limb Function [LLF] and Neuropathy Impairment Score [NIS]) can be faxed to a core Reading and Quality Assurance Center where the form and data is electronically and interactively evaluated and corrected, if needed, by participating medical centers before electronic entry into database.

Observations and conclusions: 1) The approach provides a standard, scannable paper case report form for pen entry of neuropathy symptoms, impairments and disability at the bedside or in the office which is retained as a source document at the participating medical center but a facsimile can be transferred instantaneously, its data can be programmed, interactively evaluated, modified and stored while maintaining an audit trail; 2) it allowed efficient and accurate reading, transfer, analysis, and storage of data of more than 15,000 forms used in multicenter trials; 3) in 500 consecutive CNA evaluations, software programs identified and facilitated interactive corrections of omissions, discrepancies, and disease and study inconsistencies, introducing only a few readily identified and corrected entry errors; and 4) use of programmed, as compared to non-programmed assessment, was more accurate than double keyboard entry of data and was approximately five times faster.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Data Collection
  • Database Management Systems
  • Electronic Data Processing*
  • Forms and Records Control / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics Applications
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Software
  • Work Simplification