Objective: Harmonizing individual patient data (IPD) for meta-analysis has clinical and statistical advantages. Harmonizing IPD from multiple studies may benefit from a flexible data harmonization platform (DHP) that allows harmonization of IPD already during data collection. This paper describes the development and use of a flexible DHP that was initially developed for the Predicting OptimaL cAncer RehabIlitation and Supportive care (POLARIS) study. Results: The DHP that we developed (I) allows IPD harmonization with a flexible approach, (II) has the ability to store data in a centralized and secured database server with large capacity, (III) is transparent and easy in use, and (IV) has the ability to export harmonized IPD and corresponding data dictionary to a statistical program. The DHP uses Microsoft Access as front-end application and requires a relational database management system such as Microsoft Structured Query Language (SQL) Server or MySQL as back-end application. The DHP consists of five user friendly interfaces which support the user to import original study data, to harmonize the data with a master data dictionary, and to export the harmonized data into a statistical software program of choice for further analyses. The DHP is now also adopted in two other studies.
- Centralized and secured database server
- Easy in use infrastructure
- Flexible data harmonization platform