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One Tiny Change Saves Time and Aggravation When Answering Queries


If I could help study coordinators absorb just one take-away from my MAGI West presentation on data management for sites it would be this:

Solve the query, THEN answer the query.

Did you know that a lot of automatic queries will simply disappear if you do this?  That's right, you won't ever have to answer them at all.

There are other good reasons to make this process update, starting with the fact that the study coordinator is the subject matter expert on their subjects.  The query is merely a red flag- it can cite unexpected data or inconsistent data, but it can't tell a study coordinator or investigator what the correct data are.  Only the subject source record and the judgment of the investigator can tell you this.

So solve the problem first, then respond to the query with a good explanation of what you did.  Solving the query before you answer the query will increase the likelihood you have given a full, complete and correct response to the query.  It will decrease the number of re-queries.  It will increase the quality of communication between the study coordinator and the data managers.

One way this works is by returning the focus from the communication in the query to the data on the page.  Query communication causes a lot of difficulties because study coordinators and data managers are coming from very different places, not just in terms of professional experience but often in terms of fundamental personality differences.  They see the world differently, so conflicts are inevitable when they try to partner to simplify a real-world interaction into a data listing.

It's impossible to beat this one improvement for return-on-investment (it's such a tiny change!), however there are additional process improvements which will improve the site's experience of data management.  Some of these improvements are about increasing data quality to start with, and others are about understanding some hidden rules in what data managers are looking for.

Here is the expanded Slideshare version of the MAGI West presentation (and all my Slideshare presentations are Creative Commons licensed for use in entirety and with attribution- so you can copy and use this presentation wherever you like):