Successes and lessons learned in database development for national multi-site cancer care delivery research trials: the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology experience

David Zahrieh, Shauna L. Hillman, Angelina D. Tan, Jennifer L. Frank, Travis Dockter, Bobbi Jo Meyers, Cassie L. Cherevko, Elizabeth S. Peil, Shaylene McCue, Oudom Kour, Heather J. Gunn, Heather B. Neuman, George J. Chang, Electra D. Paskett, Sumithra J. Mandrekar, Amylou C. Dueck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (Alliance) coordinated trials utilize Medidata Rave® (Rave) as the primary clinical data capture system. A growing number of innovative and complex cancer care delivery research (CCDR) trials are being conducted within the Alliance with the aims of studying and improving cancer-related care. Because these trials encompass patients, providers, practices, and their interactions, a defining characteristic of CCDR trials is multilevel data collection in pragmatic settings. Consequently, CCDR trials necessitated innovative strategies for database development, centralized data management, and data monitoring in the presence of these real-world multilevel relationships. Having real trial experience in working with community and academic centers, and having recently implemented five CCDR trials in Rave, we are committed to sharing our strategies and lessons learned in implementing such pragmatic trials in oncology. Methods: Five Alliance CCDR trials are used to describe our approach to analyzing the database development needs and the novel strategies applied to overcome the unanticipated challenges we encountered. The strategies applied are organized into 3 categories: multilevel (clinic, clinic stakeholder, patient) enrollment, multilevel quantitative and qualitative data capture, including nontraditional data capture mechanisms being applied, and multilevel data monitoring. Results: A notable lesson learned in each category was (1) to seek long-term solutions when developing the functionality to push patient and non-patient enrollments to their respective Rave study database that affords flexibility if new participant types are later added; (2) to be open to different data collection modalities, particularly if such modalities remove barriers to participation, recognizing that additional resources are needed to develop the infrastructure to exchange data between that modality and Rave; and (3) to facilitate multilevel data monitoring, orient site coordinators to the their trial’s multiple study databases, each corresponding to a level in the hierarchy, and remind them to establish the link between patient and non-patient participants in the site-facing NCI web-based enrollment system. Conclusion: Although the challenges due to multilevel data collection in pragmatic settings were surmountable, our shared experience can inform and foster collaborations to collectively build on our past successes and improve on our past failures to address the gaps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number645
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Cancer care delivery research
  • Clinical trial management and optimization
  • Clinical trial operations
  • Data management and monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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