A common theme from this year’s PhUSE was how Pharma and CRO companies are implementing efficiencies to all programming functions. Much of this stemmed from the use of standardised database designs (including CDASH standards) to build a Meta-data Repository (MDR) which promotes reusability across studies from SDTM mapping to define xml generation and much more (presentations: SI01 / DS11 / DH05). Some of the processes involve bespoke in house tools and/or fulltime standards teams to make this work but the huge effort looks to be rewarded with efficiency on the various study tasks.

On the coding front there were some interesting talks on Coding Efficiency (using some of the more recent functions - CT02), Are you Still Afraid of Using Arrays (CT07), Practical Guide to Macro Quoting (IS06) and Check your Code, Control Your Data – programming tips for new programmers (IS07). Many of these supplemented with practical examples on clinical trial data to give some useful ideas. From one of the talks on ODS graphics (DV07) we intend to follow up on potential use of SGE files created in the process which could benefit some medical writing reports and ad-hoc presentations.

Other highlights included a visually impressive and interesting presentation on regarding SAS code as data (DV08) where 3D graphics were used showing interaction between macros within a reporting system. They were able to identify highly sued and important utility macros and focus efforts on those and also potentially redundant code.

Finally there was an interesting talk from a presenter from CDISC relating to CDASH (DS03). Apparently 66% of CDASH variables are identical to SDTM variables, with this number rising to 89% when including simple derivations (e.g. DAT to DTC). A new version of CDASH came out in September.

For a full list of presentations / posters see: