A Bioinformatics System to facilitate the Acquisition, Quality-Control, Reporting and Analysis of Interview, Clinical and Ocular Data in the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES)
Stanley P. Azen, PhD and Rohit Varma MD.
University of Southern California
LALES is a three-year population-based prevalence survey of ocular disease in non-institutionalized Latinos, aged 40 years and older, in six adjacent census tracts in and around the City of La Puente, California. Interviewers list addresses and dwelling units and screen household members via a listing and screening system programmed in Visual Basic. Interviewers then recruit all eligible respondents to complete a 35-minute computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) in either English or Spanish. The CAPI design allows us to meet our data collection, transfer, quality control, and management needs without undue burden on respondents or field staff, while still attending to the in-person needs of subjects.
In addition, we have developed a clinical data collection system using Microsoft Access that is used for entering clinical ophthalmic data and automatically checked for validity. Data errors or data queries are noted by different colors for the data entry boxes. On a regular basis, pop-up screens request examination for inter-rater comparisons. The interview and clinical examination data are transferred electronically to the Data Coordinating Center where additional validity checks are made, and statistical analyses are conducted on the inter-rater data. To debug software or hardware problems, PC-Anywhere is used to facilitate remote control evaluation for troubleshooting purposes. Finally, reports and SAS-based programs for statistical analyses utilize an OBDC Data Source System and SQL procedure to select the key variables.
Conducting all the interview data electronically: a) allows an immediate transition from the screener to the interview, often reducing respondent burden to one home visit; b) assures greater quality control; c) provides excellent off-site monitoring of field work; d) reduces the time spent completing paperwork in the field and tracking paperwork in the office; and e) allows the transfer of data collected during the in-home interview to Battelle and clinic servers on a nightly basis.
Acquiring clinical data electronically: a) alerts the technician to improbable or illegal data values and to incorrect relationships between variables; b) provides greater quality control; c) reduces the time spent completing paperwork; and d) facilitates the transfer of data to the Data Coordinating Center.