Business Challenge


Research recruitment can be both expensive and time consuming. Recruiting a large enough cohort can also be difficult. The National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (NIHR CRNCC) is investigating ways to improve how research data is collected and wanted test how mobile technology could help.

Approach


The NIHR CRNCC partnered with Tigerspike to design and build an application to trial the use of ResearchKit during a pilot they would run for their employees. ResearchKit is a software framework for apps that lets medical researchers gather robust and meaningful data, by making it easier to enrol participants and conduct studies.

The NIHR CRNCC set up a challenge for their staff to walk 10,000 steps each day over a two-week period, with the application recording the number of steps each participant made. Once the data was captured it was encrypted and sent securely to the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA), a body of the University of Leeds, where it was then reviewed.

Outcome


The NIHR CRNCC were delighted with the success of the pilot trial study and the application. It showed that e-consent is a viable option for the research sign up process and reduces the time spent on a traditional paper-based process. Recruitment was also streamlined. Participants could easily download the application from a link and begin tracking information without any specialized equipment.

The pilot study’s success was recognized by senior stakeholders, including the Department of Health and the NHS. The study concluded that using mobile technology for research is more efficient both from the researchers’ and participants’ perspective and will be something the NIHR CRNCC will look to explore further in the future.