Saturday, September 3, 2011

The most craziest forms on the world

Within clinical research, we try to make our forms (CRFs) clear, easy-to-use, and clever (the latter especially in the case of eCRFs).
In Germany, we have the "Deutsche Rentenversicherung" (DRV - German state pension fund), which is also responsible for paying out pensions to orphans. Both my children get such a (very small) pension as they lost their mother some years ago.
So every few months, we get a set of forms to fill in, so that the DRV can judge whether my children are still eligible for payments. You can find one of such forms (although not exactly the one I got today) here.
If you try it out, you will get a message that you cannot save the form to your hard disc, but only fill it out using your computer, and then PRINT it out. The reason seems to be that the DRV does not have any mean to receive forms electronically. They only accept paper!
But now back to the forms I have to fill in for my children. These have some pecularities:
- the name, address and date of birth, and insurance number are preprinted on page 1 (fine!).
- on page 2 (the backside of page 1) you MUST fill in ... name, address, date of birth of the submitter (which is of course the same as the receiver data preprinted on page 1).
- if your bank account number has changed, you must give it as an international bank account number (IBAN and BIC), even if the account is in Germany
- if you live abroad, you should give it in the same way (which makes sense) AND additionally fill another set of forms (why???)
- on page 3, the insurance number is preprinted
- on page 3, you you MUST fill in ... name, address, date of birth of the submitter (why, as the preprinted insurance number is the unique identifier anyway?)
- if the orphan is in education (school, high school, university, in education at a company...) you have to fill in when the day, month, and year that the education will finish.
Do I have a crystal ball to see when this will be the case?
- on page 4 (backside of page 3), you have to provide some details about the education. In case it is university, you have to give the current semester (makes sense), and once again (why?) when the orphan will get his/her diploma (again you need the crystal ball here).
- on page 5, the insurance number is preprinted
- on page 5, you you MUST fill in ... name, address, date of birth of the submitter ... Getting frustrated ???
- many of the forms contain a large number of references to law paragraphs, e.g. (translated):
"the DRV is obliged by §48 of the 10th book of the social security law book in connection with §100 part 3 of the 6th book of the social security law book (DGB VI) to regularly test ..."
Got it?

Each time (about twice a year) I have to fill in these forms. Each time, I guess this shortens my life with about a week. These forms should get a header "these forms endanger your health"!

Yes, I know, I live in the BRD (Burokratische Republik Deutschland - Burocratic Republic of Germany)

Maybe one day (e.g. if they pay me for that), I will make an XForms form sample showing how this form can be provided electronically in a smart way ...

Hope we do better in clinical research ...

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