Martin Bialke and Henriette Rau contributed equally to this work
In most research projects budget, staff and IT infrastructures are limiting resources. Especially for small-scale registries and cohort studies professional IT support and commercial electronic data capture systems are too expensive. Consequently, these projects use simple local approaches (e.g. Excel) for data capture instead of a central data management including web-based data capture and proper research databases. This leads to manual processes to merge, analyze and, if possible, pseudonymize research data of different study sites.
To support multi-site data capture, storage and analyses in small-scall research projects, corresponding requirements were analyzed within the MOSAIC project. Based on the identified requirements, the Toolbox for Research was developed as a flexible software solution for various research scenarios. Additionally, the Toolbox facilitates data integration of research data as well as metadata by performing necessary procedures automatically. Also, Toolbox modules allow the integration of device data. Moreover, separation of personally identifiable information and medical data by using only pseudonyms for storing medical data ensures the compliance to data protection regulations. This pseudonymized data can then be exported in SPSS format in order to enable scientists to prepare reports and analyses.
The Toolbox for Research was successfully piloted in the German Burn Registry in 2016 facilitating the documentation of 4350 burn cases at 54 study sites. The Toolbox for Research can be downloaded free of charge from the project website and automatically installed due to the use of Docker technology.