An Interactive Tool for Visualizing Design Heterogeneity in Clinical Trials

Friday, January 12, 2007
Carini, S., Hernandez, M., Storey, M.-A., Horvath, T., Kennedy, G., Rutherford, G., & Sim, I. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2008; 2008: 298–302..
Clinical questions are often studied by randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of heterogeneous design. Systematic reviewers and trial designers need to compare the design and results across these trials. If trial information is available in computer processable form, computer-based visualization techniques can provide cognitive support for such comparisons. CTeXplorer offers systematic reviewers and trial designers a tool to better and more quickly understand design heterogeneity in RCTs. CTeXplorer supports dynamic queries on eligibility criteria, interventions, and outcomes in three linked views. We tested CTeXplorer for displaying 12 RCTs on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Three target users found the representation and organization of information intuitive and easy to learn. They were able to use CTeXplorer to achieve a quick cognitive overview of a heterogeneous group of RCTs. This work shows the benefit of capturing trial information in computable form. Future work includes leveraging ontologies to enhance CTeXplorer visualizations.