Process Validation Rules

Process Validation Rules (formerly Reference Rules) in SMART-TRIAL allow question answers to be conditioned/validated by question answers in different forms or data events. It is possible to have rules on dates, such that visit dates in a later data event cannot be before visit dates in an earlier data event.

Three types of actions:

  • Block Answer: Will block the form from being saved, so long as the answer breaks the rules.
  • Show Warning: Will allow the answer to be saved but will display a warning text in orange color. The warning text can be specified by the user, if nothing is specified it will use a default text.
  • Generate Query: Will create a query on the answer, and notify anyone with the “Query Permission”. The creator of the query will be denoted as “System generated query”

All old limits (min/max) will be automatically converted into Block Rules upon release. So you should see no difference in performance.

The table below specifies which question types can be used to create references and which question types they can create a reference to. We will continuously add rules so if you have any additional rules you would like to be able to set up, please contact:

Question type Possible reference question types


Date, Date/Time


Number, Slider


Number, Slider


Date/Time, Date

Specific Time

Specific Time



How to set up Process Validation Rules:

Reference rules are setup step-by-step and follow the form of:

If the answer in question X is greater/smaller than the answer in question Y, then Do Something.

The rules will not work until data is present in both of the questions,  so if you have marked one of the two questions as “not available” the rule will be ignored.

Before setting up the rule in SMART-TRIAL, it can be a good idea to write down the rule, to ensure it ends up doing what you want. This is because it can quickly become confusing when the rule is actually triggered. Please remember that the rules can work both ways, in the sense that: if A is greater than B, is the exact same as if B is less than A.

  1. Using the left-side menu go to [Study Name] --> Process Rules.
    Process Validation Rules 1

  2. Select "Validation" and click on + RULE.
    Process Validation Rules 2

  3. Now you can the Process Validation Rule.
Process Validation Rules 3

Note: You can only setup one rule at a time, therefore if you wish to make a range, it requires two validation rules.


The offset can be used if the value of the one question should have a numeric value/ a number of days added to its value.

Could be that there should be at least 7 days between visit 2 and visit 1, in that case, the offset would be set to 7 days. That way if the user tries to enter a date value that is less than 7 days after visit 1, they will be notified.

Process Validation Rules list

The Process Validation Rule list will show you the "If the answer from" information. You will have to click on "View" (the eye icon) to see the "is" and "then" information.

If a rule is marked with red, it is invalid and should be corrected prior to start the study.

Filter Options

The "Filters"-button can be used to identify specific Process Validation Rules of interest. The filter options include:

  • Identifier - the unique number each process validation rule receives.
  • Process Name
  • Data Event Name
  • Form Name
  • Question Text
  • Action Type

You can combine multiple filters at the same time to specify the search. Multiple filters will interact in an AND capacity with other. 

Customize Columns

The Process Validation Rules table can be customized by dragging the columns to rearrange the order of these and via the "Columns"-button, where you can select/deselect columns.