Background: Centralized outcome adjudication has been used widely in multicenter clinical trials in order to prevent potential biases and to reduce variations in important safety and efficacy outcome assessments. Adjudication procedures could vary significantly among different studies. In practice, the coordination of outcome adjudication procedures in many multicenter clinical trials remains as a manual process with low efficiency and high risk of delay. Motivated by the demands from two large clinical trial networks, a generic outcome adjudication module has been developed by the network's data management center within a homegrown clinical trial management system. In this article, the system design strategy and database structure are presented.
Methods: A generic database model was created to transfer different adjudication procedures into a unified set of sequential adjudication steps. Each adjudication step was defined by one activate condition, one lock condition, one to five categorical data items to capture adjudication results, and one free text field for general comments. Based on this model, a generic outcome adjudication user interface and a generic data processing program were developed within a homegrown clinical trial management system to provide automated coordination of outcome adjudication.
Results: By the end of 2014, this generic outcome adjudication module had been implemented in 10 multicenter trials. A total of 29 adjudication procedures were defined with the number of adjudication steps varying from 1 to 7. The implementation of a new adjudication procedure in this generic module took an experienced programmer 1 or 2 days. A total of 7336 outcome events had been adjudicated and 16,235 adjudication step activities had been recorded. In a multicenter trial, 1144 safety outcome event submissions went through a three-step adjudication procedure and reported a median of 3.95 days from safety event case report form submission to adjudication completion. In another trial, 277 clinical outcome events were adjudicated by a six-step procedure and took a median of 23.84 days from outcome event case report form submission to adjudication procedure completion.
Conclusion: A generic outcome adjudication module integrated in the clinical trial management system made the automated coordination of efficacy and safety outcome adjudication a reality.
Keywords: Clinical trial; clinical trial management system; endpoint adjudication; medical safety monitoring; outcome adjudication.
© The Author(s) 2015.