The need for new evaluation methods for eHealth and mHealth services – study of a dynamic concept for efficient trials
Researchers know that when planning a project, you try to take delays into account, but even then we often have to ask for postponement.
A report from 2015 concluded that an overwhelming majority of studies (86%) are neither completed within the agreed time period, nor provide the results they aimed for. This is especially true for studies that test using mobile technology (m-health and e-health). Unfortunately, these technologies often become out of date before the project is over due to the rapid development in the market.
One result of this is that knowledge gained about potential treatment options for patients is also outdated and therefore of limited value. What we need is a way to more effectively plan and manage studies so that our results remain relevant and useful to patients, providers and health authorities.
Studies are usually administered by a project manager and group who aim to follow project plans, adhere to strict study designs, supervise participants and collect data. The way this is done - the time they spend, how team members communicate and coordinate tasks and the resources used to do so - leads to whether a project either succeeds or fails.
Before this project started, we developed and tested a dynamic study management platform to streamline every step of our m-health studies. This platform provides a common interface to manage most of the features that other modern study management systems offer separately, including the ability to recruit, track participants' progress through a study, submit questionnaires and receive answers, as well as other data types, from a secure, remote web interface. We believe that by coordinating and performing study administration tasks electronically, both between participants and researchers and within the research team, we can more successfully complete studies. We also aim to explore the impact that individuals and coordination within the research team have on study success.
To identify factors associated with both objective study administration and subjective researcher coordination that prevent or facilitate the successful implementation of intervention studies of e-health and m-health.
To increase our knowledge and ability to conduct more effective studies in the future by addressing these factors.
While originally we planned to analyze and compare these factors within four projects, we have since decided to expand the number of studies and researcher interviews that we include. We will focus on studies that are related to mHealth or E-health interventions that have used one or more of the following means to administer the studies: traditional paper-based, personal and electronic administrative tools.
We will compare factors such as the time required to complete each step of these studies, the resources and tools used by the researchers, the cooperation and coordination of tasks within the team and any issues that were discovered that may explain how a study was successful or prevented from achieving the study's objectives.