Using mobile phones to collect patient data: lessons learned from the SIMPle study

Duane, Sinead
Tandan, Meera
Murphy, Andrew W.
Vellinga, Akke
Duane S, Tandan M, Murphy AW, Vellinga A Using Mobile Phones to Collect Patient Data: Lessons Learned From the SIMPle Study JMIR Res Protoc 2017;6(4):e61 DOI: 10.2196/resprot.6389
Background: Mobile phones offer new opportunities to efficiently and interactively collect real-time data from patients with acute illnesses, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). One of the main benefits of using mobile data collection methods is automated data upload, which can reduce the chance of data loss, an issue when using other data collection methods such as paper-based surveys. Objective: The aim was to explore differences in collecting data from patients with UTI using text messaging, a mobile phone app (UTI diary), and an online survey. This paper provides lessons learned from integrating mobile data collection into a randomized controlled trial. Methods: Participants included UTI patients consulting in general practices that were participating in the Supporting the Improvement and Management of UTI (SIMPle) study. SIMPle was designed to improve prescribing antimicrobial therapies for UTI in the community. Patients were invited to reply to questions regarding their UTI either via a prospective text message survey, a mobile phone app (UTI diary), or a retrospective online survey. Data were collected from 329 patients who opted in to the text message survey, 71 UTI patients through the mobile phone UTI symptom diary app, and 91 online survey participants. Results: The age profile of UTI diary app users was younger than that of the text message and online survey users. The largest dropout for both the text message survey respondents and UTI diary app users was after the initial opt-in message; once the participants completed question 1 of the text message survey or day 2 in the UTI diary app, they were more likely to respond to the remaining questions/days. Conclusions: This feasibility study highlights the potential of using mobile data collection methods to capture patient data. As well as improving the efficiency of data collection, these novel approaches highlight the advantage of collecting data in real time across multiple time points. There was little variation in the number of patients responding between text message survey, UTI diary, and online survey, but more patients participated in the text message survey than the UTI diary app. The choice between designing a text message survey or UTI diary app will depend on the age profile of patients and the type of information the researchers’ desire.
JMIR Publications
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland