Two decades ago, Electronic Data Capture (EDC) systems were heralded as the answer to a very specific need at clinical trial sites: they allowed for electronic versions of case report forms.
As fitting as the term “electronic data capture” might have originally been, it is misleading in today’s digitized world. While EDC systems sound as if they ought to have broad applications, they are still designed first and foremost for a more narrow application of enabling clinical trial sites to input the data on case report forms into a database. (Sometimes this is done by inputting directly into the system. Other times, the information is recorded first on paper and then transcribed into the EDC.)
In recent years, EDC vendors have attempted to support the capture of other forms of electronic trial data, a process that requires behind-the-scenes programming and integration machinations (such as the use of Application Programming Interfaces, APIs) that are often time-consuming and costly, making the final application impractical and inefficient.