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ALCOA (Attributable, Legible, Contemporaneous, Original, Accurate)

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Acronym for a number of attributes or dimensions that are considered of universal importance for data integrity of source data and the records that hold those data. These include that the data and records be:

  • A-Attributable (to both subject and to any actor on a record);
  • L-Legible (available for human review, possible to read electronically if an encoded eRecord);
  • C-Contemporaneous (timing of data collection with respect to the time the observation is made: the more promptly an observation is recorded, the better the quality);
  • O-Original (the first suitably accurate and reliable recording of data for the intended purpose);
  • A-Accurate (free from error especially as the result of care; an accurate diagnosis conforming exactly to truth or to a standard).

NOTE: ALCOA stems from a talk with Dr. Stan Woollen, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in the early 90’s on earmarks for the quality of records and has become a widespread acronym reflecting best practices for clarity and usability of data. CDISC Glossary

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