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BACKGROUND: Clinical trials data management (CTDM) remains one of the many challenges in running state of the art trials in resource-poor settings since most trials do not allocate, or have available, sufficient resources for CTDM and because of poor internet connectivity. Open-source software like OpenClinica could be a solution in such scenarios. FINDINGS: In 2007, the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) adopted OpenClinica (OC) community edition, an open-source software system and we share our experience and lessons learnt since its adoption. We have used OC in three different modes; direct remote data entry from sites through Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) modems, a centralized data centre approach where all data from paper records were entered at a central location and an off-line approach where data entry was done from a copy of database hosted on a field-site server laptop, then data uploaded to a centralized server later. We have used OC in eleven trials/studies with a cumulative number of participants in excess of 6000. These include large and complex trials, with multiple sites recruiting in different regions of East Africa. In the process, we have developed substantial local capacity through hands-on training and mentorship, which we have now begun to share with other institutions in the region. CONCLUSIONS: Our experience demonstrates that an open source data management system to manage trials' data can be utilized to international industry standards in resource-poor countries.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Res Notes

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Biomedical Research, Clinical Trials as Topic, Humans, Information Dissemination, Information Storage and Retrieval, Internet, Kenya, Software