Evolving With Technology to Communicate and Manage Multisite Research Studies

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 3:25 PM

Julia A. Greenawalt, PhD
Department of Nursing and Allied Health, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA
Lissette Mondragon, BS, BSN
Nursing, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Chicago, IL, USA

Multisite studies are often required to gain the sample size required for generalizability of the study findings. However, with multisite studies come complex communication issues that are rarely discussed in the literature (Lasater et al., 2012). Over the past 8 years, we have experimented with a number of communication technologies as we conducted studies spanning 4 times zones and 20 sites. Some technologies have emerged and faded within even this short period of time; others have emerged during our current study time and show great promise. In this presentation, we will describe our experiences with various technologies for both multisite communication and data management including: the use of a Wiki 8 years ago to store documents and share information, Google HangOut on Air for meetings and archiving of those meetings for later viewing, YouTube which replaced Google HangOut on Air, Dropbox for ease of document sharing and de-identified data management, RedCap (https://projectredcap.org/) for demographic data management, and Excel spreadsheet with formulas for easy return date calculations for all of our study participants. We discovered WhatsApp, for Android or iPhones, after the study started and would recommend it to others who need real time ease and text communications in a contained program. WhatsApp is also adding visual phone capabilities soon. The cobbling together of various existing computer programs to build the CPR study platform provided occasional software challenges. Approaching students or our own teens and explaining our study needs for communication might have yielded other tools we still remain unaware of, at this time. We also appreciate and acknowledge that overlaying additional learning needs for new communication apps or technology, in addition to managing an already technology rich study may be overwhelming for some faculty. It is better to seek out and appoint site coordinators to such studies, who are willing to embrace technology.