CDISC training

IDDO hopes CDISC training will open doors in disease research

4 January 2018

Looking forward to the day when all infectious disease data is collected and stored in a common format, WWARN data managers recently completed a training provided by the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), which will help advance plans for a more integrated approach.

Held at WWARN’s Oxford headquarters last year, the training spanned several days and included a facilitated introduction to CDISC tools such its Clinical Data Acquisition Standards Harmonization (CDASH), which is used in data collection, and also CDISC’s Study Data Tabulation Model (SDTM) and Operational Data Model (ODM).

WWARN and its parent organisation, the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO), is now accepting data in CDISC format and is in the process of applying CDISC to its data repository. IDDO produces a wide-range of research outputs relating to malaria, Ebola, visceral leishmaniasis and other diseases.

“It would be great if everyone used CDISC as a standard data collection method,” said Kalynn Kennon, one of several WWARN  data managers, who help the organisation collect and curate clinical data for a range of uses, including meta-analyses relating to therapeutic dosing and efficacy. “It would be perfect because then everyone could understand each other’s data since everyone would be using the same method to collect and store it.”

Earlier this year, WWARN joined with CDISC to launch the first global malaria data standard, the CDISC Malaria Therapeutic Area User Guide (TAUG). In addition to using the malaria TAUG, IDDO is also beginning to apply CDISC to its Ebola data.

Receiving data in a common format reduces the time needed to standardise information received. It also allows researchers to collect data on certain variables across multiple diseases, and compare them.

“People often don’t just present with one disease,” Kennon said. “You have got people who come in with HIV but might also have malaria. In real life you could have multiple infections. CDISC will streamline the whole process and make it so much easier to understand, share and use data across different diseases and research areas.”

Kennon said CDISC could have a significant effect on WWARN and IDDO’s work, which to date has included 18 large-scale meta-analyses of malaria, working with more than 280 collaborators. She looks forward to what might be possible if research teams apply CDISC standards to data collection.

“If everyone uses CDISC data, pooling the information for these large analyses can happen much more quickly,” Kennon said.