Case study

GREAT – Global Resource for Eczema Trials

Comprehensive global database of detailed information on systematic reviews & randomised control trials (RCTs) in Eczema

Accessible, comprehensive and easily searched


The Global Resource for Eczema Trials (GREAT) is a database which holds information of all randomised control trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews of eczema treatments. It is the first of its kind, freely accessible, comprehensive and easy to use.

It contains information and data as far back as 1966 (MEDLINE), 1980 (EMBASE) and systematic reviews for established eczema since 2000 onwards.

The GREAT database is the equivalent of a national reference collection but on a global scale, and has the capacity to reduce the length of eczema research projects.  Eczema research is done all over the world, the socioeconomic costs of the disease are very high and the prevalence of eczema is increasing.

Finding a way to reduce the amount of time taken to complete research projects and to speed up applications for its funding is vital, and the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology decided to do something about it – the GREAT database is their solution.

Overall objectives of GREAT

To provide a comprehensive, easy to use and accessible database resource containing details of systematic reviews and randomised control trials of eczema treatments globally.

To speed the process of identification of published eczema research and the funding for future eczema research projects by reducing the amount of time it takes to search thousands of individual references and analyse full studies and all citation lists. To be thorough, sensitive search strategies are necessary and produce the most complete results. Manually filtering through this type and volume of data is a mammoth task, but one that lends itself well to computerisation.

The role of Metaxis

To design and create a database containing the records of randomised control trials (RCTs) of all treatments for established eczema published since 1966. This includes relevant information from MEDLINE, EMBASE and all records of systematic reviews of treatment since 2000 primarily from the Cochrane Library, the Cochrane Skin Group Specialised Register, CINHAL, AMED and LILACS.

In order for this database to work all the data had to be normalised to ensure maximum data integrity, searchability and minimise any data redundancy.  As it would form the main global resource for eczema research, ensuring its integrity and maintaining and updating the data would be key to the success of the project.

Another important element of this project was the de-duplication of all the data.  Because the data in question is health-related the main objective of de-duplication is maximising the integrity of the data being stored for research purposes.  Therefore, being able to combine content awareness and ‘fuzzy logic’ in this context with strong technological skills was crucial.
The domain knowledge and experience that Metaxis has gained over many years of working with this type of and volume of data, meant that it was very well placed to meet the challenge.

Key features:

  • Comprehensive, easy to use, web-based database – global reference collection
  • Maximised data integrity and searchability
  • Minimised data redundancy
  • Reliable data de-duplication based on excellent domain knowledge and content awareness

Key benefits:

  • Reduced time taken to complete eczema research projects
  • Quicker funding approvals
  • Reliable and trustworthy global clinical resource
  • Enhanced health outcomes reducing socioeconomics costs

Here is what some users and collaborators say about the GREAT database:

  • “The collection of randomised controlled trials on eczema patients all around the world makes further research so much easier.  What is really important about GREAT is the carefully planned inclusion process and data extraction that makes it a reliable and trustworthy source for any further research in eczema.  In other words, GREAT is simply fantastic!”
  • “A user-friendly website for accessing a large amount of focused, filtered information for clinicians and researchers in eczema”
  • “Easy to use, easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye”
  • “Very easy to find what I was looking for, because RCTs were categorised properly”
  • “It has made finding clinical information much easier”
  • “Intuitive”

Source: Global Resource for Eczema Trials

About Metaxis Ltd

Metaxis is a software development company based in the UK specialising in content management solutions and workflow control software. Our solutions support digital collaborative working environments where multiple users, regardless of their global location, can access and interact with high quality, relevant data and information in a meaningful and productive way.

Metaxis provides bespoke solutions rooted in best practice Agile methodology. Its software design principles – rapid behaviour-driven development, high performance, close client collaboration and ease of use – underpin the company’s business ethos.  Metaxis makes short work of Big Data.

Metaxis Ltd, Elmbank Court, Main Road, Curbridge, Witney OX29 7NT, UK  Tel: +44 (0)1993 771740