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Chapter 5: Using "SmartForms" - General Principles

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Information is sent from the protocol team to the IRB via eProst's electronic “SmartForms".   Specific forms exist for such items as study applications, continuing reports and amendments.  These intelligent WebForms are specific for the desired task to capture study information from the research team through a standard browser. 

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Note to eProst users:  Filling out "SmartForms” is not a complicated task and may be simpler than navigating through some of our local streets.


SmartForms utilize conditional branching logic to customize what questions are being asked based on prior answers and/or research procedures.  What this logic does is guide users to the appropriate questions while bypassing unnecessary portions of the forms (i.e. investigators are required to complete only those questions that apply to his/her study). 

Investigators can fill out smart- forms online without ever printing them.

There are five methods by which information is entered into eProst SmartForms.  These methods are:


1)   Text Boxes: users should enter text directly into these blank boxes


2)   Pull-Down Menus: Users must select one option from a menu of possible options


3)   Selectable Check Lists: Users should select multiple options from this pre-established list


4)   "Add Documents" Button: Documents should be attached to the SmartForm in the same manner as attaching documents to an email


5)   Subforms: These automatically become available to users when answers to questions define the need for additional forms and information

In all SmartForms, required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).   These fields must be completed in order to continue to the next page or to submit the form. 

The two primary methods of navigating through SmartForms are the BACK and CONTINUE buttons at the top and bottom of each page (c.f. Figure 6). 

1)   BACK Button:  Clicking this button moves the user to the previous page.

NOTE:  This is not the "Back" button on the browser window but rather an internal control within the eProst system


2)   CONTINUE Button:  Clicking this button moves the user forward to the next page. When this next page is accessed, all previous pages are automatically saved.


      Using the CONTINUE button enables eProst to select required questions based on previous answers.  Users are advised that while they can navigate to subsequent pages using the Jump To: function described later in this Chapter, the latter may not differentiate between questions that are applicable based on prior answer and those question that are not relevant to the submission (i.e. the Jump To: function is not built on the SmartForm "branching logic").

NOTE: Clicking the CONTINUE button will have result in an “error message” if all required fields on the current page have not been completed

After the first time the user saves a "SmartForm", all pages will have the following links available at both the top and bottom (c.f. Figure 6): 

1)   SAVE:  Clicking this link saves the previously entered data without moving the user to other sections of the application.  It is recommended that users save their work at regular intervals to avoid computer malfunctions.

NOTE:  For security, the eProst system will log users out after 30 minutes of inactivity.  If so logged out, work on the current page will be lost.  It is recommended that users who leave their computer idle should save their work and lock their computer


2)   EXIT:  Clicking this link will close the current SmartForm and return the user to the workspace from which the submission is managed (i.e. the protocol workspace or the amendment workspace etc).  These workspaces are described in sections below. 

NOTE:  Clicking EXIT does not save the current SmartForm page.  Users should first click SAVE before clicking EXIT


3)   HIDE/SHOW ERRORS: Clicking this link will reveal a list of incomplete required fields.  This link is most useful when the SmartForm has been completed but not yet validated or submitted.  Its advantage is that it will define oversights and omissions by the user. 

NOTE:  Users should be aware that this list will show fields as incomplete if those fields have not yet been addressed by the branching logic or the investigator; and it may not list required fields if the need for additional information has not yet been defined


4)   PRINT:  Clicking this link will print the current page of the SmartForm.


5)   JUMP-TO:   This function is driven by a pull-down menu from which users may select a page in the SmartForm and be taken directly to that page.

In all SmartForms, the last page will provide instructions for submitting the form.  The FINISH button replaces the CONTINUE button on this page.  Clicking the FINISH button exits the form and directs the user to an appropriate workspace page (note – alternatively, the user may click the EXIT link to accomplish this same purpose).

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Figure 8: The first page of the SmartForm application for a new study

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