In Retrospect: Observations from the OC16 Conference in Boston

By November 1, 2016 Blog No Comments

In Retrospect: Observations from the OC16 Conference in Boston (October 3-4, 2016)

The conference had a more intimate feel than years prior, but was increasingly informative with current news and a look into future market trends. Among the many things discussed, the audience was quite thrilled to learn about the release of OpenClinica v4, a self-service opensource, patient engagement, and EDC platform with low cost of entry, rapid startup, optimized workflows, and massive scalability. OpenClinica v4 appears to be a big step forward from the prior release, offering a much cleaner, crisp, and simplified user interface. It was announced that the new and improved system will also be responsive (able to resize and adapt to operate effectively on any device or screen size), which is a big win for mobile users. Some big features such as incorporation of medical terminology still remain on the “long term” development plan – but through effective partnership they have been able to address that requirement as well.

Some key features outlined in v4 were:

  • Working with your colleagues in real time on protocol design, in a visual, drag-and-drop way. When ready, its one-click to deploy to test, training, and production environments,
  • A fast, mobile-friendly, flexible forms engine with real-time edit checks, powerful expression logic, and advanced multimedia capabilities
  • Quickly, seamlessly, and securely inviting other users. Have them trained and working productively with the system in a self-service, fully automated way, and
  • Smart & customizable reports, dashboards, and queues that help you work better.


The first release will work with OpenClinica Bridge – basically a restricted version of OpenClinica v3. This will be followed up by the splitting of OpenClinica into several vertical components, which implement various specific functionalities (i.e. form designer, discrepancy management system form renderer, subject matrix, and data export). Once they complete one component, they will disable “old” corresponding functionality in OC Bridge. Once they have implemented all the various verticals, OpenClinical explains that Bridge will be discontinued. This also means that all OC4 releases, including OC Bridge will follow their own release timelines moving forward.

An example of such collaboration, were the companies who exhibited during the evening reception. Adaptive Clinical’s technical staff demonstrated the most fluid interoperability between popular Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and the current version of OC. The trend toward eSource is significant and increasingly FDA is encouraging Sites, CRO’s, Sponsors and all those involved in data management to consider the hidden power of leveraging EMR data through interoperability. Many obstacles still remain before a single standard, platform or vendor can tackle such a mammoth task, so an approach using highly scalable and flexible middleware is gaining popularity.

Adaptive Clinical staff had already demonstrated the full power of their Adaptive Clinical Bus in a previous conference showing the audience how Medical Coding capability (e.g. MedDRA) can be easily injected into any release of OpenClinica. But the most recent demonstration showed how entire other systems, be it proprietary or commercially available, can now smoothly interoperate with OpenClinica.

Looks like next year will be year of big changes for OpenClinica users. With luck, OpenClinica describes it as a move that will help clinical trial operations save time, work great in mobile environments, and encourage better collaboration.


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