Making changes to forms after a study has already begun data collection brings up many important considerations. For example, deleting a field to replace it with another would delete any data that existed in that location. However, adding a choice to a choice field or renaming fields would not have any impact.
For studies not using version control, changes can be made and applied instantly. Meaning, when a change is made to a CRF in the form builder and saved, it immediately propagates on the live study. This article focuses on studies that use version control and the steps to follow in making changes.
Generally, forms should only be changed in a development version. That can be seen in the Form builder as shown below. When a version is in development, the red message below will not appear when that version is selected in the highlighted area:
If the highlighted area in the image above has no other choices, you will need to create a new version to develop. After doing so, that new version will appear as an option in the area shown above. Selecting the new version will ensure you are not working on the live study. However, for future reference and study documentation, it is still important to keep track of any changes made to forms.
As long as the version is only in development, form changes and behavior can be tested on any Administrative site.
Version override is an added function which allows builders to make changes to a published study version that is currently live in the study. For example, perhaps some fields just need to be moved around or resized, or a spelling error needs correcting. Version override is intended for these types of minor changes.
When the version override option is checked, a message of caution will display indicating that any changes made will immediately propagate on the live study.
IMPORTANT: Changes made in override mode, should also be made to subsequent versions separately if there is any chance that subjects will migrated off that version to a later one. Otherwise the changes made will not appear on the later versions. Additionally, while the system allows flexibility to change conditional logic and choices in choice fields, it is imperative to understand how making those types of changes will impact data or forms which may have already been validated.
When making changes on a published study version in override mode, you will notice there are many options in the form builder that are disabled. For example, there will be no ability to add new fields to the form or delete existing fields. If any disabled function is needed, you will need to create a new study version as described in the section at the top of this article.