Technological Solutions to Foster Communication in Multisite, Longitudinal Studies

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Julia A. Greenawalt, PhD
Department of Nursing and Allied Health, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA
Margory A. Molloy, DNP
School of Nursing, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC, USA

Purpose:  A call noted in the literature has been for more rigorous multisite studies to be executed to drive nursing and healthcare (Mariani and Doolen, 2016). Many obstacles and challenges need to be surmounted to successfully implement a multisite study. This presentation will share some lessons learned and how technology and social media were used to successfully navigate many of the challenges inherent in multicenter research work.

Methods:  Multisite studies require close collaboration between all involved, most notable during the preparation and implementation phases. However, time, scheduling, and distance are common challenges of a successful study. This presentation shares with the audience an innovative use of a web-based tool for maintaining open lines of communication used during one multisite study. Solutions and “work arounds” from a ten site national study in the USA will be presented. Strategies for maintaining open lines of communication implemented by the principle investigators allowed for a large sample size with broad generalizability in this multisite study. A free, publically accessible web-based tool will be discussed and how the use of this tool fostered collaboration, communication and cohesiveness for the research team.

Results:  The tool is mobile, user-friendly and web-based and allowed team members to send updates and share resources in a timely manner. Video meetings could be conducted with the project team and viewed synchronously or asynchronously from a computer or mobile device. These online meetings provided a means to stay in touch without the need for travel or expense while still benefiting from a live, engaging, and immersive environment. Obstacles such as time and distance were eliminated to allow for successful study implementation.

Conclusion: Evaluating various new technologies for project planning and managing multisite studies can provide future study teams with the tools needed to foster a team commitment to the completion of a successful multisite study to advance the science of healthcare. Lessons learned about multicenter research collaboration, albeit national or global will be explored in this interactive presentation. Other emerging technological applications will be shared that are simple, secure and have reliable messaging and video capabilities which may be applied in the same fashion to foster equal or better results. Further research is warranted to trial these emerging technologies to advance the science of healthcare.