Development of a data entry system using optical character recognition for a multi-center clinical trial: Cataract port-II study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science






Purpose. To develop a data entry system for use in a multi-center clinical trial where sample size is large, the time between enrollment and follow-up is brief, and a quick turn around time to data analysis is desired. Methods. Teleform© is an optical character reader software application that allows one to design data collection forms, collect the completed forms via fax, automatically interpret the data on the faxed form images, and automatically export the data into a database. Result. Use of data applications developed with Teleform© software and the fax for data transmission ease the burden of manual data entry, freeing site personnel for other duties. The interface between the optical reader software and data base applications is good, seamless, and reasonably fast. However, processing multiple page forms is slow unless each page is identified as a separate "form." Use of optical reader software requires simplicity in form development; use of response choice bullets is preferred. When handwritten, alpha-numeric data is required, clear, easy-to-read handwriting is critical. Conclusions. The Teleform© optical character reader software is a powerful data entry tool. When developing data collection and entry applications, one must carefully consider the study's data volume, flow, and management needs.

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