Free data-collection software from HCFA

There may not be any free lunches, but if you’re looking for free clinical data-collection software, Susan M. Sparks, RN, PhD, FAAN, senior education specialist and publication grant program officer in the Division of Extramural Programs for the National Library of Medicine, tells Homecare Quality Management that HCFA has it.

HCFA recently announced the availability of the MedQuest suite of tools on the World Wide Web at: http://www.hcfa.gov/medicare/hsqb/ medquest/medq1.htm.

MedQuest, developed by HCFA, enables you to design sophisticated clinical data-collection systems without the need for programming. The completely new version, released January 1997, is incompatible with the previous versions unless you use the patch program provided on HCFA’s Web site. All the components you need to run the software are provided.

The software is based on HCFA’s extensive experience (over 500,000 medical record abstractions) in collecting clinical information and includes both a design and data entry mode, as well as utilities for database management and data quality control. As with all federally developed software, it really is available at no charge.