For healthcare professionals only

Research Article

Use of a viewdata system to collect data from a multicentre clinical trial in anaesthesia.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 20 October 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:1059
  1. H A Waldron,
  2. R F Cookson


    The interactive electronic information storage and transmission system PRESTEL was assessed as a method of recording and collecting patient record forms from a multicentre trial in anaesthesia. PRESTEL terminals were provided in anaesthetic centres around Britain and all data handled by this public viewdata service, which connects users by telephone to a central computer. The trial was of a new analgesic supplement, alfentanil, and confirmed more rapid recovery of patients as compared with that after traditional anaesthesia with halothane. Advantages of the system were manifold and included reducing the need for the trial monitor to visit the trialist, an electronic "mailbox," confidentiality, and the ability immediately to identify violations of study protocol. No participant found the system too difficult to use, though the small keyboard was a source of complaint. Despite the initial cost of the system its utility vastly outweighs traditional methods of data collection.