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Lindörfer, Doris; Mansmann, Ulrich (July 2017): Enhancing requirements engineering for patient registry software systems with evidence-based components. In: Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Vol. 71: pp. 147-153
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INTRODUCTION: Patient registries are instrumental for medical research. Often their structures are complex and their implementations use composite software systems to meet the wide spectrum of challenges. Commercial and open-source systems are available for registry implementation, but many research groups develop their own systems. Methodological approaches in the selection of software as well as the construction of proprietary systems are needed. We propose an evidence-based checklist, summarizing essential items for patient registry software systems (CIPROS), to accelerate the requirements engineering process. METHODS: Requirements engineering activities for software systems follow traditional software requirements elicitation methods, general software requirements specification (SRS) templates, and standards. We performed a multistep procedure to develop a specific evidence-based CIPROS checklist: (1) A systematic literature review to build a comprehensive collection of technical concepts, (2) a qualitative content analysis to define a catalogue of relevant criteria, and (3) a checklist to construct a minimal appraisal standard. RESULTS: CIPROS is based on 64 publications and covers twelve sections with a total of 72 items. CIPROS also defines software requirements. Comparing CIPROS with traditional software requirements elicitation methods, SRS templates and standards show a broad consensus but differences in issues regarding registry-specific aspects. DISCUSSION: Using an evidence-based approach to requirements engineering for registry software adds aspects to the traditional methods and accelerates the software engineering process for registry software. The method we used to construct CIPROS serves as a potential template for creating evidence-based checklists in other fields. CONCLUSION: The CIPROS list supports developers in assessing requirements for existing systems and formulating requirements for their own systems, while strengthening the reporting of patient registry software system descriptions. It may be a first step to create standards for patient registry software system assessments.