The Central Administrative Research Facility (CARF) is a unique facility coordinating the grading of ophthalmic images collected for clinical research studies. CARF engages a network of reading centres located throughout the United Kingdom, electronically distributing photographic data for grading.
Participating clinical research study centres submit ophthalmic images to CARF. CARF can accept images captured from a number of different ophthalmic image acquisition systems which produce either digital or film images. The wide range of image review software used in CARF allows the captured images to be read on either a common platform or on the capture system's native review application.
Digital images can be submitted online via a secure file transfer service or on disc (CD or DVD) via a postal service. Currently 94% of all image sets are received online, reducing costs for the site and significantly speeding up the grading process. On receipt, consistency checks are performed to ensure clinical study centre submission completeness and adherence to protocol. CARF monitors image and angiographic quality and provides feedback and reports to clinical study centres where necessary.
CARF manages the allocation of images to one of its associated reading centres in the network for grading. The images are evaluated by applying both parametric and non-parametric principles by highly trained grading staff using customised grading software. CARF collates the results from the reading centres which are recorded using methodologies appropriate to a particular study protocol and allows generation of data outputs to purchasers of services or relevant study data management centres.