What is DCAS?
DCAS (Data Collection Application Suite) is a government-owned suite of applications developed for the support of health studies. DCAS is free for use as part of the National Children’s Study (NCS) Program. DCAS provides multiple data management applications in support of health studies, including content development, data collection, data management, and data delivery. DCAS captures both operational and instrument data to support and correspond to the Master Data Element Specifications (MDES) of the NCS Program.
DCAS - Product Suite Overview
DCAS Metadata Editor
DCAS Metadata Editor is a tool for survey content authoring and metadata repository management. Survey logic is represented via metadata making it transparent to study stakeholders. The application allows the content author to preview “on the fly” what the participant, data collector, or data manager will see when running the survey. It supports built-in instrument versioning and enables easy content reuse.
The metadata repository can be used for a single study or across multiple studies, allowing scientists and researchers to easily create and maintain study content and protocols while previewing data collection questionnaires and delivery datasets. DCAS Metadata Editor also provides support for multiple language surveys allowing NCS to perform data collection in Spanish.
DCAS Starter is a field case management system that provides the ability to create and manage participants, event and other related operational data, and to initiate the data collection on health study instruments (configurable to support different protocol requirements). Besides single data entry mode, DCAS Starter also supports double data entry mode allowing for manual data entry from paper based data collection, data comparison and data merge.
DCAS Data Collection
DCAS Data Collection is able to capture, store and validate the data items associated with a health study instrument on a connected or disconnected data collection device. It supports multiple data collection modes of administration including CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview), ACASI (Audio Computer Assisted Self Interview), and CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview). Its representation of instruments (as defined in the DCAS Metadata Editor) can handle skip patterns that enable control of the survey flow branching based on previous responses as well as on the predefined metadata logic. The application is also able to perform complex dynamic text substitutions based on gender, child count and other collected data. In addition to the questionnaire data collection, the application collects extensive timing information during data collection and supports extensive auditing. One unique capability of the application is the advanced data reconciliation support allowing for automated smart data reconciliation between rosters and loops.
DCAS Data Services
DCAS Data Services provides the ability to load participant data to the disconnected data collection devices and aggregate collected data into the central database. The application supports built-in encryption and includes the ability to import data from other formats.
DCAS Data Factory
DCAS Data Factory provides the ability to export the operational and instrument data to a defined data format, with support for the Vanguard Data Repository (VDR) XML format.
DCAS Integration provides a data transmission capability to move data between DCAS and a third-party system. It is uses a timestamp based change tracking mechanism to identify data changes that need to be replicated and provides data discrepancy reports to identify any data issues. The SugarCRM product is the first supported third-party system for this application.