The accuracy and efficiency of electronic screening for recruitment into a clinical trial on COPD

Christopher N. Schmickl, Man Li, Guangxi Li, Marnie M. Wetzstein, Vitaly Herasevich, Ognjen Gajic, Roberto P. Benzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Participant recruitment is an important process in successful conduct of randomized controlled trials. To facilitate enrollment into a National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trial involving patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we developed and prospectively validated an automated electronic screening tool based on boolean free-text search of admission notes in electronic medical records. During a 2-week validation period, all patients admitted to prespecified general medical services were screened for eligibility by both the electronic screening tool and a COPD nurse. Group discussion was the gold standard for confirmation of true-positive results. Compared with the gold standard, electronic screening yielded 100% sensitivity, 92% specificity, 100% negative predictive value, and 72% positive predictive value. Compared with traditional manual screening, electronic screening demonstrated time-saving potential of 76%. Thus, the electronic screening tool accurately identifies potential study subjects and improves efficiency of patient accrual for a clinical trial on COPD. This method may be expanded into other institutional and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1501-1506
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • COPD
  • Electronic screening
  • Patient recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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