Quality assurance of the international computerised 24 h dietary recall method (EPIC-Soft).

The British journal of nutrition

PubMedID: 24001201

Crispim SP, Nicolas G, Casagrande C, Knaze V, Illner AK, Huybrechts I, Slimani N. Quality assurance of the international computerised 24 h dietary recall method (EPIC-Soft). Br J Nutr. 2013;1-10.
The interview-administered 24 h dietary recall (24-HDR) EPIC-Soft® has a series of controls to guarantee the quality of dietary data across countries. These comprise all steps that are part of fieldwork preparation, data collection and data management; however, a complete characterisation of these quality controls is still lacking. The present paper describes in detail the quality controls applied in EPIC-Soft, which are, to a large extent, built on the basis of the EPIC-Soft error model and are present in three phases: (1) before, (2) during and (3) after the 24-HDR interviews. Quality controls for consistency and harmonisation are implemented before the interviews while preparing the seventy databases constituting an EPIC-Soft version (e.g. pre-defined and coded foods and recipes). During the interviews, EPIC-Soft uses a cognitive approach by helping the respondent to recall the dietary intake information in a stepwise manner and includes controls for consistency (e.g. probing questions) as well as for completeness of the collected data (e.g. system calculation for some unknown amounts). After the interviews, a series of controls can be applied by dietitians and data managers to further guarantee data quality. For example, the interview-specific 'note files' that were created to track any problems or missing information during the interviews can be checked to clarify the information initially provided. Overall, the quality controls employed in the EPIC-Soft methodology are not always perceivable, but prove to be of assistance for its overall standardisation and possibly for the accuracy of the collected data.