When the team began contacting participants for the 2018 ARIC study visit, they had much more to manage than in past collections. In addition to the wave of data collection, which already included thousands of annual data collection calls and hundreds of reminder calls for ARIC, seven new ancillary studies were added. These new ancillary studies needed participants who would be recruited from the existing ARIC pool. Melissa Minotti explained that her team needed a tool that tracked ARIC participants and also helped with participant recruitment into ancillary studies. They needed an easy to use, centralized database to maintain up-to-date participant information to support the ongoing ARIC efforts, track the ancillary study recruitment and screening process, and continue to support Comstock Center’s mission to provide excellent service to their participants.
Identifying and transitioning to a new software solution was not an easy task. The initial thought was to seek out telemarketing agencies or similar software to help with participant tracking, but they found nothing applicable. After seeing one demo of Ripple, moving forward was quick. “The Ripple team had knowledge of what it was like to complete research and execute protocol. They understood the terminology and knew what we needed,” explained Minotti. Comstock had the daunting task of importing 30-years of data into Ripple. Many of Comstock’s employees were not even as old as the data. To make sure the data was accurate, the Ripple Science team partnered with Minotti to review, clean and fix many inconsistencies prior to uploading the final data set to their Ripple account. “The transition to Ripple was easy,” explained Minotti. “Ripple allowed the team to focus on the participants without worrying about what spreadsheet or database had the correct details about each participant. That information is all in the registry.”
Ripple provides Comstock researchers and staff a 360-degree view of each participant, easily tracking ARIC participants, as well as the recruitment and screening process for ancillary studies. “Ripple really shifted our perspective from an individual in a single study to a whole-participant. We used to have a challenge where a participant was called multiple times during the same week for different studies. With Ripple, we are able to minimize contacting the participants even though some are enrolled in seven ancillary studies, their annual follow-up and ARIC semi-annual follow-up calls.”