Over the last couple of weeks, many teams have paused their data collection and lab-based research due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But a pause in data collection should not mean a complete pause in your research program. Instead, use this time to connect with and support your participants and make critical changes to your research protocols that will ensure continuity during similar events.
Here are eight ways to proactively reach out to participants and adapt your protocol to the new COVID-19 realities.
- For difficult to reach participants, check to make sure you have up-to-date contact information. It is more likely that they will be home and able to re-engage with your team.
- Keep participants engaged by having your research team check-in and offer support to those in your studies.
- Reduce the length of long in-person visits by breaking them into an online and offline phase. Do the online phase now and a shorter one in the future.
- Collect clinical interview data through the use of video conference software. If you are using online tools, research team members can enter the information directly onto these platforms.
- This may be the most ideal time to do online and phone visits that would have otherwise been considered burdensome, as participants may appreciate the distraction and payment.
- “Spring Clean” your participant data. While recruitment and data-collection for your studies are paused, now is also the time to plan for streamlined recruitment and data collection. Have coordinators and the operations team evaluate research best practices and work on streamlining procedures so you can hit the ground running when you restart data collection.
- Transition your registry and participant information to a secure web-based platform so that your team can continue working when off-site. By doing so, you will be able to recruit, manage and retain participants for studies, from anywhere.
How are you using this time to stay connected with research participants?
If you are a Ripple user and want ideas on how to use this time and adapt your protocol in Ripple, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a video conference with your team and brainstorm ideas together! If you are not a Ripple user, we will be glad to chat with you and discuss how we can help you transition your participant management to a secure online platform so you can implement the suggestions presented above.
The need for research teams to focus on the participant experience and manage their studies efficiently is now more important than ever. Ripple empowers dispersed teams to stay connected and ensure that they can access participant information in a highly secure, HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based platform. Allowing the continuance of participant retention and virtual data collection activities in real-time while researchers work remotely is incredibly important.