Hey! Can you reset my password? Now?

Inside or outside the clinical trial world, that is one of the most mundane and routine requests made to software help desks. Ediary firm PHT says the ongoing hassle has now been simplified in its StudyWorks system. The system has now been updated to allow users to administer their own accounts and reset their own passwords.

PHT is premiering the new administrative tools for its electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) studies at this week's EuroDIA show. Being a software firm, it is a bit excited about the improvements, incremental though they may be. Who can disapprove? Sweating the details is what makes some programs a joy to use—what differentiates great technology companies from rivals.

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The PHT development team drew inspiration from Google's web-based email service, reports Anne Pelz, PHT's senior product manager. "The screens are very clean," she says. "It gives people the ability to control their own account. It also gives sponsors more visibility into who is accessing their study." And deactivating sites has also been streamlined.

The goal is to make the administrative work as easy and fast as possible. An example: When administrators are reviewing long lists of new users at trial initiation, she says, they can authorize them in batches using simple check marks. The system presents all of the designated users together at one glance, just as Google might. "You hit a button and you're done," says Pelz.

PHT also listened to users in the sponsor and clinical site communities. There are new capabilities to start studies faster and batch more of the administrative tasks. One request: clinical trial professionals who marry would like to be able to change their surnames. Now they can. They can also change their own shipping addresses for diaries and other peripheral equipment.

Fewer Calls

Handling fewer password-reset requests could allow PHT to devote more resources to more high-level issues. Says Pelz: "Password reset is one of our top two reasons people call our help desk. We expect it to drop dramatically."

In an unrelated development, and one we heartily endorse, the firm is advocating a ban on paper patient diaries. It's high time. We can grasp the rationalizations for paper in other arenas of the research process.

But in patient diaries, paper is a form of institutionalized mediocrity. Wouldn't it be nice if a new FDA had the same view? Here's a link to a press announcement and the original article by PHT.

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