Questions & Answers on ADAMS

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What is ADAMS?

Under the World Anti-Doping Code (the document harmonizing anti-doping rules in all sports), WADA has an obligation to coordinate anti-doping activities and to provide a mechanism to assist stakeholders with their implementation of the Code.

The Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) was developed for this purpose. It is a Web-based database management system that simplifies the daily activities of all stakeholders and athletes involved in the anti-doping system—from athletes providing whereabouts information, to anti-doping organizations ordering tests, to laboratories reporting results, to anti-doping organizations managing results. It is easy to use, available in several languages, and free to WADA’s stakeholders, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the fight against doping in sport.

When was ADAMS created?

ADAMS first went online in mid-2005. The system has since been introduced to and implemented by numerous anti-doping organizations and anti-doping laboratories, and is being used by a significant number of athletes around the world.
 

What are ADAMS’ primary functions?

ADAMS has four primary functions addressing key activities of anti-doping operations:

Athlete Whereabouts

The Web-based functionality allows athletes to enter information about their location from anywhere in the world; and those without Web access may designate a representative such as their ADO to enter the information for them.

This function also helps stakeholders share whereabouts information, crucial for maximizing the surprise effect and the efficiency of unannounced out-of-competition testing. Athletes can also modify their whereabouts by sending SMS (text) messages.

Information Clearinghouse

The clearinghouse is where data is stored, in particular laboratory results, Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) authorizations and anti-doping rule violations. It permits the sharing of information among the relevant organizations and guarantees that anti-doping activities are performed with the highest level of transparency.

Doping Control Platform

The ADAMS doping control database provided to ADOs is an essential tool for managing a doping control program, both in- and out-of-competition. Stakeholders can use ADAMS to plan, coordinate, and order tests, as well as manage test results. Coordination of doping control programs in the ADAMS system helps to avoid duplication in doping controls.

TUE Management

ADAMS allows for online management of TUE requests, as well as online notification of those involved in the process.
 

Who is currently using ADAMS?

As of October 2009, ADAMS was used by approximately 23,000 elite athletes around the world.

ADAMS has been implemented and is used by close to 60 International Sport Federations (IFs), more than 40 National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and by all 35 WADA accredited laboratories. Stakeholders continue to be trained and added to the ADAMS system or a regular basis.

In addition, a number of Major Games Organizers, including the Pan American Sports Organization, the Olympic Council of Asia and the International Paralympic Committee, have adopted the system to manage their in-competition testing programs at their events.

Individual athlete statistics show that close to 100,000 athlete profiles have been logged.

Although the use of ADAMS is not mandatory for anti-doping organizations (ADOs), WADA strongly recommends its use. ADAMS allows ADOs to coordinate anti-doping activities between each other and to fulfill their responsibilities under the World Anti-Doping Code in a highly secure, cost and time-effective way.
 

How easy is it for athletes to enter and update their whereabouts information?

Athletes can easily enter their whereabouts information on ADAMS. Athletes are trained to use ADAMS by their IF or NADO, which were themselves trained by WADA. In addition, WADA offers a number of resources to users (user guides, etc.).

Athletes can update their whereabouts information at all times, including by emailing or text messaging their relevant ADO.

Under the revised International Standard for Testing which went into force on January 1, 2009, the limited number of top elite athletes included in the registered testing pool of their IF or NADO are required to specify 1 hour each day (between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.) during which they can be located at a specified location for testing. If they are not at the indicated location at the specified time, they expose themselves to the risk of a missed test.

In addition, they are required to indicate their regular activities for testing purposes. This information does not have to cover every 24/7 movement of the athlete but only recurring or regular activities, for example:

Overnight home (address)
Morning training (address)
14:00 – 15:00: training (available for testing).
 

Does ADAMS have a specific module for whereabouts of team sport athletes?

Yes. Under the 2009 International Standard for Testing, in team sports, whereabouts information can be submitted by team officials on a collective basis as part of the team’s activities.

ADAMS contains a module for team sports which allows an ADO to create a role for a team official. The team official then can enter whereabouts information on a collective basis for athletes of his/her team who are part of their ADO registered testing pool.

ADAMS subsequently informs the athlete that the team official entered new data and requests the athletes to accept or reject the submission made by the team official.

Athletes are ultimately responsible for their whereabouts. As a result, they cannot avoid responsibility by blaming their representative or the team for filing inaccurate information about their whereabouts or for not updating their whereabouts if they were not at the location specified by them during the 60-minute time-slot.

 

Why are whereabouts important for clean sport?

Given that out-of-competition doping controls can be conducted without notice to athletes, they are one of the most powerful means of deterrence and detection of doping and are an important step in strengthening athlete and public confidence in doping-free sport.

Accurate whereabouts information is crucial to ensure efficiency of the anti-doping programs, which are designed to protect the integrity of sport and to protect clean athletes. Many years of experience have shown that a minority of athletes use every occasion to cheat and that anti-doping efforts can only be effective (in terms of both prevention and detection) if athletes who are part of a registered testing pool know they can be tested anytime and if ADOs have the ability to do so.

More information can be found in the “Q&A on Whereabouts Requirements.
 

Why is it important for anti-doping organizations to share information?

There are two main reasons why ADOs share information with each other, whether via ADAMS or through other on- or off-line methods:

First, for most top athletes, there is more than one organization that has the authority to test the athlete (e.g., a NADO, an IF, WADA, and, on occasion, an events organization). In order to conduct such tests, it is necessary that information about the athlete be communication between the relevant parties.

Second, athletes may be competing or training in various countries, which means that information on athletes need to be shared with ADOs in those countries for anti-doping purposes.

The sharing of such information benefits the athletes, insofar as it ensures that they are not subjected to unnecessary tests or unreasonable demands imposed by ADOs with authority to test the athlete (e.g., required to submit multiple TUE applications or whereabouts information more than once as could previously be the case).
 

How secure is ADAMS?

ADAMS adheres to security standards similar to those found in the banking industry. ADAMS uses 128-bit SSL encryption to protect data transmissions.

ADAMS offers a significant improvement in the treatment of athlete personal data compared to the traditional email and fax system that was previously used to handle athlete data. ADAMS’ multilevel access system protects the security and confidentiality of data thanks to a security system that complies with the highest data protection standards.
 

How is information shared within ADAMS? And who can access this data?

Athletes (or their designated representative) can enter their whereabouts information and can access them at all times.

They can update their information and profile at all times. The access and user rights to ADAMS are predetermined. ADAMS users, including authorized users within WADA, sign strict l confidentiality agreements regulating the access, user rights, and non-disclosure information.

The sharing of any information must be carried out in accordance with Article 14 of the World Anti-Doping Code, which covers confidentiality and reporting. Only anti-doping organizations authorized to test the athlete can access his/her data. The organization “responsible” (custodian) for the athlete is responsible for providing access rights. For example, if UK Sport creates a profile for a UK athlete in ADAMS, UK Sport will be qualified as the “custodian” of the relevant athlete’s records and is designated as such in ADAMS. UK Sport may grant other ADOs, such as an ADO where the athlete train or competes, access to certain information of the relevant athlete (e.g., whereabouts training or test planning information). In such case, ADAMS lets athletes know which entities have access to their information. For obvious reasons, athletes do not have access to information about test planning.

The use of ADAMS is subject to national data protection laws. In a number of countries, National Anti-Doping Organizations consulted with and subsequently received approval from their national data protection authorities before starting to use ADAMS. In addition, the ADAMS User Agreement and WADA’s International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information provide that Anti-Doping Organizations using ADAMS should only grant access to relevant data to other ADOs on a need-to-know basis.

For TUEs, access to athletes’ health data is limited to the body delivering TUEs for this particular athlete and WADA. The International Standard for TUE imposes strict rules on whom within those organizations can access such data. TUE authorizations and refusals contain limited information (athlete identity, substance).

Samples analyzed by laboratories are coded and anonymized. Only the ADO responsible for results management, the IF and WADA have access to the results.
 

How are athletes informed of whom can access their information?

ADAMS clearly informs the athletes of which organizations have the right to access their data. The athlete’s profile in ADAMS – visible by the athlete – contains a Security tab stating this information. Athletes are informed of any change of access.

How long is data stored within ADAMS?

Data can be stored within ADAMS for a maximum of 8 years, to reflect the statute of limitations set forth in the World Anti-Doping Code.

This deadline is modified when relevant (e.g., 18 months for whereabouts, given that any combination of 3 missed tests and/or failures to provide accurate whereabouts information within an 18-month period can lead to the opening of a disciplinary proceeding by the ADO with jurisdiction over the athlete). As a result, some whereabouts has already been automatically deleted by ADAMS.
 

  • Last Updated September 2011
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