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Is it EDC or is it eCRF?

Is it EDC or is it eCRF?While it is clear that printed case report forms are going the way of the dinosaurs [PDF link], there in a debate going on: What should the replacement technology be called?

EDC Today had an interesting article on this topic, noting that the "terms EDC and eCRF seem to be used interchangeably in the clinical workspace".

A couple of years ago, T. J. Kuhn pointed out that:

What many people are calling eDC is actually eCRF (electonic Case Report Form). A CRF is the standardized form on which the Clinical site (Lay People can think doctor’s office) transcribes relevant data from the medical chart (also called the source) of a clinical trial subject. This form is sent to the sponsor (typically a pharmaceutical company) who enters this data into a computer system and analyzes it to see if their treatment is safe and effective.

An eCRF is an electronic form that does the same thing. The clinical site types the data into an electronic form that gets electronically submitted to the sponsor. Essentially, the sponsor is removing a (paper based) step and pushing the data entry from their internal (Data Management) group to the clinical site. That's eCRF.
The distinction is an important one but in the end, it seems like EDC is winning out as a catch-all phrase. (At least according to Google, where edc clinical beats out ecrf clinical and similar search terms.)

From a medical translation perspective, it matters less what you call it and more that it is electronic. As clinical trials expand all over the world, a properly internationalized and localized EDC application will provide for faster and less expensive translations.

For your next clinical translation and software localization assignment, request a detailed proposal from ForeignExchange.


  1. James Farley said...
    I didn't know there was a debate! I use both terms and not interchangeably. It is a long-standing tradition in Clinical Data Management to have MANY acronyms and to use them with distinction! I think each term is not a catch phrase or a buzz word but a way of speeding up communication. It's important then to keep the original distinctions, I think. A very rudimentary way to break it down would be to refer to EDC as the whole and eCRF as the part. More accurately, EDC would refer to the general method (or technology) of the process and eCRF would refer to the individual component in that process. A completed eCRF is still referred to as an eCRF too, by the way. So, I think this adds more weight to not obfuscating the terms. ...My 2 cents!

    [Via LinkedIn]
    Joanne said...
    I echo James' reaction... I didn't know there was a debate either! I see an eCRF as a type of EDC. An electronic lab notebook is also a type of EDC -- and a lab notebook is certainly not an eCRF!

    As an aside, I am transferring & translating information from a handwritten CRF to an electronic one... I have a much greater appreciation for the eCRF now!
    amaxson said...
    Thanks for your comments! Its good to see that not everyone is using the terms interchangeably. It goes to show that you both are obviously quite well versed in this matter!

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