Clinical trials are a complex tapestry of patient data, and at the heart of this complexity lies the need for a nuanced understanding of each patient’s journey.

The presentation of individual patient data is a crucial aspect, ICH E3 sheds light on various formats for displaying these data, each serving a unique purpose:

The clinical study report (CSR) with its appendices should also provide enough individual patient data, including the demographic and baseline data, and details of analytical methods, to allow replication of the critical analyses when authorities wish to do so…

…individual patient data for specified groups of patients should be provided as listings in Appendix 16.2; and all individual patient data (archival listings requested only in the US) should be provided in Appendix 16.4…

…There should be brief narratives describing each death, each other serious adverse event, and those of the other significant adverse events that are judged to be of special interest because of clinical importance. These narratives can be placed either in the text of the report or in section 14.3.3, depending on their number…

…14.3.2 Listings of deaths, other serious and significant adverse events; 14.3.3 Narratives of deaths, other serious and certain other significant adverse events; 14.3.4 Abnormal laboratory value listing (each patient)

By-Patient information could be emerged as a powerful tool, offering a comprehensive view of study-relevant parameters, reshaping the landscape of patient-centered research and data management. First of all let’s explore the differences between “tabular listings,” “individual patient profiles,” and “narratives”.

Listings Purpose:

  • Commonly used for displaying individual patient data.
  • Offers a structured, table-based format.

Listings Advantages:

  • Facilitates systematic data presentation.
  • Suitable for large datasets.

Listings Application:

  • Ideal when group mean data are the primary focus.
  • Less advantageous when detailed individual responses are not critical.

Individual Patient Profiles Purpose:

  • Constructed in various formats, including graphic displays.
  • Highlights specific parameters over time, drug dosage, and event timelines.

Patient Profiles Advantages:

  • Offers a holistic, visual representation of individual patient journeys.
  • Useful when overall evaluation of individual responses is critical.

Patient Profiles Application:

  • Valuable when analyzing trends over time.
  • Enhances understanding of individual patient experiences.

Narratives Purpose:

  • Descriptive narratives for deaths, serious adverse events, and other significant events.
  • In-depth storytelling approach.

Narratives Advantages:

  • Provides a comprehensive view of specific events.
  • Allows for a detailed exploration of clinical courses.

Narratives Application:

  • Essential for deaths, serious adverse events, and events of clinical importance.
  • Inclusion of patient-specific details for a comprehensive understanding.

What’s Inside the choice between tabular listings, individual patient profiles, and narratives?

Clinical trials data are collected from many different sources. Once the trial begins, all of the data needs to be cleaned, explored and reviewed before they are processed. Patient profiles, listings and sometimes narratives are used for many phases of the process. These by-patient information can take many forms depending upon the reviewer and the purpose. An ideal patient profile would contain all current data for each subject thereby empowering reviewers to rapidly assess the patient’s status while still allowing access to any level of detail desired.
The choice between tabular listings, individual patient profiles, and narratives depends on the study’s nuances. While tabular listings provide structured overviews, individual patient profiles and narratives add depth and context to the data, creating a more comprehensive narrative of the patient’s journey. The integration of these formats, as outlined in ICH E3, ensures a nuanced and thorough exploration of individual patient experiences within the broader clinical context.

Recommendations for Biostatisticians and SAS Programmers.

Better Planning of Listings/Patient Profiles/Narratives Shells (Mock-ups).

For a seamless integration of Patient Profiles into the clinical trial process, biostatisticians and SAS programmers should consider:

    • Annotation: Create clear and transparent shells/mock-ups with annotation that are easy for your team to review and utilize.

    • Customization: Tailor profiles based on the end user – SAS programmer, regulatory reviewer, CRA, medical writer, or physician – and their unique needs.

    • Standardization: Implement standardized templates for consistency, facilitating ease of understanding across diverse stakeholders.

Tools for Patient Profiles Creation

SAS Software: Leverage SAS PROC REPORT and SAS ODS for efficient creation of patient profiles. This paper provides insights into creating patient profiles using SAS software.

JMP Clinical: Tailored for medical reviewers, JMP Clinical facilitates the generation of patient profiles for individual or group analysis. Its visual display and configurable patient narrative make it a valuable tool.

R and Python: Harness the power of R and Python for dynamic patient profile creation. These versatile programming languages offer flexibility in designing and customizing patient profiles to meet specific study needs.

TIBCO Spotfire: Explore TIBCO Spotfire for interactive and intuitive patient profile visualization. With its user-friendly interface, Spotfire enables effective analysis and presentation of patient data, enhancing overall decision-making in clinical research.


Embrace patient profiles as a cornerstone in the edifice of clinical trials, ushering in precision, efficiency, and patient-centricity. As we navigate the evolving landscape of healthcare and research, Patient Profiles stand as a testament to the industry’s commitment to understanding, improving, and personalizing patient experiences in the realm of clinical trials.

For more insights, refer to the source articles: