Background/Objectives: The EPIC-Soft program (the software initially developed to conduct 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) was recommended as the best way to standardize 24-HDRs for future pan-European dietary monitoring. Within European Food Consumption Validation (EFCOVAL), EPIC-Soft was adapted and further developed on various aspects that were required to optimize its use. In this paper, we present the structure and main interview steps of the EPIC-Soft program, after implementation of a series of new specifications deemed to satisfy specific requirements of pan-European monitoring surveys and other international studies.
Subjects/Methods: Updates to optimize the EPIC-Soft program were ascertained according to the following stepwise approach: (1) identification of requested specifications to be potentially implemented through an ad hoc ‘EPIC-Soft specifications questionnaire’ sent to past, current and possible future users of the software; (2) evaluation of the specifications in collaboration with two ad hoc task force groups and through a workshop; (3) development of a technical solution for each retained specification; (4) implementation of the specifications by software developers; (5) testing and amendment of bugs.
Results: A number of new specifications and facilities were implemented to EPIC-Soft program. In addition, the software underwent a full reprogramming and migration to a modern Windows environment, including changes in its internal architecture and user interface. Although the overall concept and structure of the initial software were not changed substantially, these improvements ease the current and future use of EPIC-Soft and increase further its adaptation to other countries and study contexts.
Conclusions: EPIC-Soft is enriched with further functions and facilities expected to fulfil specific needs of pan-European dietary monitoring and risk assessment purposes. The validity, feasibility and relevance of this software for different national and international study designs, and the logistical aspects related to its implementation are reported elsewhere.