Mobile Information Technology for Clinical Studies and Care Research

Ulm University

Guest Lecture at the TU Berlin, Department of Telecommunication Systems;

Rüdiger Pryss, Berlin, Deutschland, 5 December 2018, 5:00 PM

In the light of digital transformation and cloud computing, mobile technology has become a salient factor for large-scale data collection scenarios. In this context, structured instruments (e.g., questionnaires) are commonly used to collect data in various application domains as well as in clinical studies. However, these instruments are distributed and filled out in a traditional paper-and-pencil fashion. The widespread use of smart mobile devices offers promising perspectives with respect to the controlled collection of high-quality and accurate data, especially for clinical studies. The design, implementation and deployment of corresponding mobile data collection applications, however, is challenging in several respects. First, various mobile operating systems (e.g., Android and iOS) need to be supported, taking the short release cycles of vendors into account. Second, study-specific peculiarities need to be flexibly aligned with the mobile application development. Third, common usability guidelines need to be obeyed. Altogether, this turns both the programming and the maintenance of mobile data collection applications into a costly, time-consuming, and error-prone endeavor.

The talk will give insights into an advanced framework called QuestionSys that allows transforming sophisticated paper-based instruments to mobile data collection applications. The latter, in turn, can then be run on heterogeneous smart mobile devices. In particular, the framework empowers medical doctors - as well as other domain experts - to flexibly develop robust mobile data collection applications on their own, without need to involve mobile application programmers. The framework will allow developing sophisticated mobile data collection applications by orders of magnitude faster compared to current practices on one hand. On the other, domain experts will be relieved from manual tasks, like digitizing the data collected.

Care research is another topic for which mobile technology becomes more and more important. In the MobileTx project, we aim to assist therapists in managing psychotherapy by introducing mHealth tools. To be more precise, the latter are integrated into the therapeutic process, which basically helps to transfer therapeutic achievements into the daily life of patients. This might be beneficial not only in psychotherapy, but also in other therapies that use homework. In practical projects, with MobileTx, we identified that several shortcomings of therapies can be mitigated significantly. Thus, care research may also benefit from the use of proper mobile technology. To conclude, based on insights of QuestionSys and MobileTx, this talk shows that mobile technology can pave the way for innovative clincial as well as care research.

Regard the corresponding publication available at: