Ongoing Support for Managing Large-Scale Clinical Trials by the UTS IMPACCT Research Centre

By Weisi Chen


At the forefront of cutting-edge research lies the Improving Palliative, Aged, and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT) center, led by the visionary Professor Meera Agar. Dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals living with life-limiting illnesses and their families, IMPACCT boasts a dynamic team of interdisciplinary researchers. Among them, several groups tackle diverse projects, including CST (Cancer Symptom Trials), the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC), and the IMPACCT Trials Coordination Centre (ITCC).

In the heart of this bustling research hub, we find Jessie Hao, a remarkable research assistant overseeing the data collection process for a staggering 61 clinical trials. These trials, mostly longitudinal studies, come with intricate data management procedures and have proven to be a constant challenge to navigate. Technical barriers threaten to disrupt the smooth implementation and operation of these vital studies.

UTS REDCap Instance

Enter REDCap, a secure web application designed to construct and manage online surveys and databases, boasting robust security features and an impeccable audit trail. In 2016, Linda Brown, the National Manager of PaCCSC, CST, and ITCC at IMPACCT, requested the hosting of the UTS REDCap instance on an Intersect server on Nectar.

Since then, the UTS REDCap instance has soared to remarkable heights, welcoming 322 active users and facilitating a staggering 1111 projects.

Unsurprisingly, IMPACCT has emerged as one of the leading champions of REDCap, harnessing its power for large-scale clinical trials. One shining example is Jessie Hao, who fearlessly manages a staggering 61 clinical trials using this incredible application.

Ongoing Support

In recent years, Weisi Chen, the Intersect Digital Research Analyst (DRA), has played a crucial role in providing continuous support to REDCap users within IMPACCT. Their involvement extends across various facets, encompassing but not limited to the following:

  1. Assisting new users and collaborators to get started with the system.
  2. Providing information on the REDCap system for the purpose of ethics approval and compliance with regulations.
  3. Since 2016, the DRA has developed and offered REDCap training courses from introductory to intermediate levels, initially for IMPACCT staff only, and now for the broader UTS REDCap user community. Many IMPACCT staff have benefitted from these courses in order to get started with REDCap smoothly.
  4. Answering technical questions regarding REDCap usage by various IMPACCT researchers and staff members. The support topics include: the design of data collection forms, the best use of certain REDCap features, tips for managing longitudinal studies, etc. The support has been provided via individual or group consultation meetings, phone calls, emails, and the UTS Research IT Drop-in Session (formerly known as Hacky Hour).

Since 2016, the utilization of Intersect-hosted REDCap, complemented by the unwavering training and support from the Intersect DRA, has become an indispensable component of IMPACCT’s operations. This invaluable partnership has propelled IMPACCT’s ability to produce exceptional research outcomes, earning high praise and appreciation from the entire IMPACCT team.

Jessie expressed her satisfaction with the support received, stating,

“Weisi and the Intersect team are always very passionate about providing support in a timely manner. I wanted to let you know that you guys do a really good job!” – Jessie Hao.

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