Standardizing data exchange for clinical research protocols and case report forms: An assessment of the suitability of the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) Operational Data Model (ODM)

Academic Article


  • Efficient communication of a clinical study protocol and case report forms during all stages of a human clinical study is important for many stakeholders. An electronic and structured study representation format that can be used throughout the whole study life-span can improve such communication and potentially lower total study costs. The most relevant standard for representing clinical study data, applicable to unregulated as well as regulated studies, is the Operational Data Model (ODM) in development since 1999 by the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC). ODM's initial objective was exchange of case report forms data but it is increasingly utilized in other contexts. An ODM extension called Study Design Model, introduced in 2011, provides additional protocol representation elements.Using a case study approach, we evaluated ODM's ability to capture all necessary protocol elements during a complete clinical study lifecycle in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health. ODM offers the advantage of a single format for institutions that deal with hundreds or thousands of concurrent clinical studies and maintain a data warehouse for these studies. For each study stage, we present a list of gaps in the ODM standard and identify necessary vendor or institutional extensions that can compensate for such gaps. The current version of ODM (1.3.2) has only partial support for study protocol and study registration data mainly because it is outside the original development goal. ODM provides comprehensive support for representation of case report forms (in both the design stage and with patient level data). Inclusion of requirements of observational, non-regulated or investigator-initiated studies (outside Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation) can further improve future revisions of the standard.
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    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Huser V; Sastry C; Breymaier M; Idriss A; Cimino JJ
  • Start Page

  • 88
  • End Page

  • 99
  • Volume

  • 57