The GemsTracker software, allows organizations to have their own secure data collection site where data can be accessed, submitted and modified. GemsTracker can be seen as a ‘toolbox’ for setting up your own data collection system. Normaly one site corresponds to one research study but it is also possible to run multiple studies on one site simultaneously. Additionally, different organisations can use the same site but share the same measurement tracks. In this case data for each organization is separately stored and visualized for it’s users. This way, a GemsTracker site is used as a (national) database for quality registrations or research. For each organization the GemsTracker site can be modified according to the style and required functionality of the organization.
GemsTracker involves both the patient and the professional (researchers, healthcare workers, management) in the process of data collection. The activities to be performed are centered around a measurement track. This track shows which measurement should be performed by whom at what times. GemsTracker has therefore a built in track engine (for process control) which ensures that the correct measurements, at the right times are offered to the right person. Moreover, GemsTracker has a track builder which is used to define measurement tracks.
Via a GemsTracker website healthcare professionals can assign measurement tracks to patients so measurements are offered at regular intervals to monitor treatment progress. This way a healthcare professional can offer (a series of) questionnaires to the patient (on-site, via a computer, via email or on paper) or look up the results of a measurement (eg a specific test or an outcome) which was entered by a professional. The GemsTracker interface is aimed at providing professionals an overview of the available patient data and the data still to be collected from the patient at all times.
GemsTracker was originally used as a respondent tracking system for clinical trials and population studies at the department of Public Health of the Erasmus MC. Within the department a growing demand was seen for health research during the healthcare process (Research at the workplace). In collaboration with the Department of Plastic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine of Erasmus MC and the Xpert Clinic the development of GemsTracker started. With funding from the Coolsingel Foundation the existing software could be made more suitable for use in research and qualityregistrations in the healthcare process.
Initially GemsTracker was designed as an extension to the functionality of the questionnaire package LimeSurvey. LimeSurvey is an open source, web-based application in which questionnaires can be built, completed, processed and distributed (www.limesurvey.org). GemsTracker is now an independent system which can communicate with different questionnaire systems (including LimeSurvey). In September 2011, the software was published (new BSD licence) in the open source community to promote the transparency of code, continuous improvement of the quality and wide availability at a low cost to healthcare providers and research institutions.
User and developer documents
We have developed a wiki with user and developer docs. The user is the person who uses GemsTracker and wants information how to e.g. create a new track or enter a new patient. The developer docs contain information about how to install Gemstracker on your server and how to update the software.
Here you find two presentations on how GemsTracker can be used in clinical research and quality registrations during the healthcare process:GemsTracker: About integrating science into daily clinical care From research to clinical care and back: designing ICT infrastructure