How Software Improves Workflow in Longitudinal Studies

Published December 30, 2019

Longitudinal studies are a method of data-gathering widely used in clinical research. They employ repeated measures to track outcomes over a period of years or even decades. Clinical researchers often use this method to evaluate the relationship between the development of diseases and potential risk factors so that they can determine the effectiveness of interventions in disease progression. But their benefits for health care extend well beyond just disease research.

These types of studies are key to providing higher quality, evidence-based care. That’s why the Lumedi EDC team has built an intuitive platform from the ground up to support patient data collection. This platform makes it easier for any clinician to administer longitudinal research.

What are the Advantages of Longitudinal Studies?

Longitudinal studies are powerful because they take research beyond episodic approaches, giving researchers a breadth of data about a patient’s life. Because of this, longitudinal studies provide an evidence-based approach crucial to ensuring ongoing quality care for patients.

  1. They are effective at detecting variable patterns over time. These types of studies allow researchers to not only observe changes over time but also explore what earlier circumstances could have led to these changes.
  2. They are effective at collecting unique, consistent data. The type of data collected makes it easier to distinguish the universal from personal variations that could skew data collected via other research methods.
  3. They provide a high level of accuracy when observing changes. These studies are designed to have a clear focus and structured to mitigate human error.
  4. They employ the observational method. As a result, they can yield more definitive outcomes than cross-sectional studies.
  5. They can be designed for flexibility. Longitudinal studies can include both qualitative (e.g. quality of life) and quantitative (e.g. blood glucose levels) measures. These data can be collected either by the clinical researchers during scheduled clinical visits (timepoints) or directly from patients through patient reported outcomes (PROs).

While highly effective, long term studies are hard to do well. They require high investments of time and finances to plan and implement and depend on participants continually opting in for the long haul.

Another challenge is, once the longitudinal data has been gathered, how to optimize those records to inform and improve the quality of patient care. To make best use of these records, the data needs to be integrated with other medical information onto a single, retrievable platform. Any healthcare practitioner coming in contact with a patient should have access to a rich and accurate picture of the patient’s ongoing health and its management to inform care-based decisions and recommendations.

Is There an Easier Way to Collect Longitudinal Data?

Before Lumedi EDC, no software systems for longitudinal data-collection existed. This platform was developed in collaboration with clinicians and researchers to make it easy to administer any size of longitudinal study.

The advantages of Lumedi EDC for clinical research:

  • Integrated. The platform can be seamlessly integrated with other measures involved in the study.
  • Collaborative. Through enabling multiple sites on the platform, researchers associated with the study can use Lumedi EDC to collect and instantly share information in a uniform manner to prevent any inconsistencies in data collection during the study.
  • Automated. Scheduling and multi-site capabilities allow for automated and standardized data collection across all study sites. The scheduling feature lets researchers plan study time points with features to automatically send questionnaires to study participants or schedule clinic visits.
  • Economic. Using Lumedi EDC dramatically lowers the cost of data acquisition.
  • User-friendly. It allows researchers to sign up any time, quickly design their own questionnaires, develop custom instruments, and be up and running within a day. Instant data visualization through study and participant level dashboards allows researchers to track the study in real-time.
  • Flexible. Lumedi EDC allows for multiple methods of data collection, plus the cloud-based platform can be run any time, anywhere. Measures can be administered during a clinical visit on the web application, or sent to study participants via email or through our mobile phone app.

Longitudinal studies are powerful methods of research that can help improve our understanding of healthcare and lead to faster and better patient outcomes. Lumedi EDC exists to make this research easier. To learn more about Lumedi EDC’s in-depth features, contact us today.