Site-Specific Data Collection in the West Indies

The UWI Colorectal Cancer and Intracranial Tumour Research Projects

The Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, was established in 1948 and is currently comprised of 10 medical departments, one of which is the Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anesthesia and Intensive Care. C/NET Solutions began a relationship with the University of West Indies in 2010 when we were approached by Dr. Joseph Plummer, a general surgeon at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, as a possible solution for a colorectal data collection project he was about to implement. Through Dr. Plummer, we were also introduced to Dr. Peter Johnson, Head of the Radiology Section, who also had data management needs for a grant project on intracranial tumors. The story of their respective research projects and their specialty application of the CNExT software is an interesting one. Their experience in implementing their data collection system is told through a written interview completed by Jillian Campbell, Research Assistant on the intracranial tumor project, with input from Doreen Ferron-Boothe, Research Nurse on the colorectal project, and Drs. Plummer and Johnson.

Can you give us a general overview of your research project and your primary source(s) for funding for the project?

“Cancer Research in Jamaica is an area of great concern to our nation and people; hence the Department of Surgery has started both Intracranial Tumour and Colorectal Cancer Registries. These projects are funded by the University Campus Principal’s new initiative grant awarded in 2010.

“The focus of the colorectal cancer registry is to capture retrospective and prospective cases of colorectal cancer and through analysis, produce evidence-based results regarding diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

“With regard to the Intracranial Tumor Registry, the aim is to create a radio-clinico-pathological database of these tumours. This registry will facilitate the publication of benchmark findings with respect to diagnosis and treatment of intra-axial tumours, extra-axial tumours and paediatric tumours from our institution.”

Tell us how you first heard about CNExT.

“On Dr. Plummer’s visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, he was introduced to CNExT, a programme that the Mayo Clinic was utilizing for their cancer registry data system. It seemed ideal for his colorectal cancer research, hence he pursued it.

“Through collaboration on projects in the Department of Surgery, the intracranial tumour registry research team became aware of CNExT and its use with the colorectal registry. The CNExT software was then purchased for use in that registry as well.”

How do you feel the CNExT implementation process went for you? Was the installation simple? Was training appropriate? Does our software meet your data needs?

“The installation process was straightforward and completed with the aid of our IT personnel. Initially, the data collection process was slow and steady as expected while gaining knowledge of a new database and system. The technical support team at C/NET Solutions demonstrated good customer relationships as the staff were very patient and accommodated us in the best way possible. The support staff was easily accessible and demonstrated competence of the database they were introducing to us. Training was very comprehensive and covered most of the areas needed for our research endeavor. At the closing stages of the training, our staff members were more comfortable with the content and therefore gained confidence in using the software.”

Are you satisfied with ongoing technical support of CNExT?

“The CNExT technical support personnel are efficient when responding to any query that arises. They work diligently in solving any problems that may develop with the database. We are satisfied with the online support thus far.”

What data items are entered into CNExT that is specific to your research projects?

“Demographics, Physical examination/Scans, Pathology and Treatment. The colorectal cancer research project has significant emphasis on prevention and we were able to customize the software and expand on the family history fields in order to fulfill our desire to get pertinent and more detailed information on relatives of cancer patients. We also expanded the Scans field so we can capture detailed information on MRI scans performed.”

What is your overall goal for the research project and do you believe CNExT will help you meet that goal?

“As alluded to in response to the first question, the goal of providing evidence-based results and current data in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers is to enhance not only safety and quality in treatment, but is also intended to impact clinicians, policy makers and consumers. This should add to the overall preventative measures, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Though still in the initial stages of using the programme, we intend to publish our findings extensively in the national, regional and international environment. This will facilitate comparison with statistics published from other regions to determine if the local epidemiology is similar or not. With regards to the intracranial tumour registry, it represents the first large radio-pathological correlation with various tumour types in our facility. This data will be instrumental in the evaluation of the interpretive skills of the radiology service at the University Hospital of the West Indies. C/NET Solutions has provided the CNExT tool for the University to effectively impact these areas of research and we believe that it will help us meet our goals”

A Final Note

The CNExT software required only minor modifications to enable the University of West Indies Research staff to collect the desired data for their respective projects. Gay Jordan, Project Coordinator with C/NET Solutions, assisted the staff by adding customized fields with codes and labels along with customized screen layouts. Additionally, the C/NET Solutions programming staff modified an edit set to accommodate the specialized data collection by removing unwanted edits and adding some new edits for custom data items. C/NET Solutions is privileged to be working with the University of the West Indies to meet their research goals and wish both of their groups every success with their projects.

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