One of the most interesting aspects of using new-age technologies for research is how they can redefine the very objectives of research studies! New horizons are being touched every day as researchers, scientists and technologists unravel new ways to capture data, newer kinds of data that can be captured and fascinating insights drawn from them!
Here are 5 ways in which you can think of expanding the scope of your study or elevating your study goals, leveraging the power of mobile frameworks such as Apple ResearchKit and Android Research Stack, and the innumerable components creating the modern Internet of Things (IoT) smart world we are moving towards.
• Tracking medication/treatment effectiveness in real time
This is a real boon of a possibility thanks to the fact that today research can be conducted using mobile apps. Smartphones these days are equipped with the ability to capture health data via frameworks such as Apple HealthKit or by interfacing with wearable devices that capture activity, heart rate, sleep information and more. By enrolling patients for a study via a mobile app, and asking them quick surveys about their health from time to time, having them perform quick ‘active tasks’ in the study and also capturing health data from their device, it is possible to track effectiveness of treatments and medications on a near real time basis.
• Drawing co-relations between lifestyle habits and health indicators
This is another super-valuable addition to the world of mobile-based research. There are several ways you can track lifestyle habits of your study participants (with their due consent of course) and this includes activity levels and fitness information, time spent on sleep, food consumption and much more.
• Remote monitoring of health conditions for people who are on the move
This had always been a challenge until mobile app-based research study became a reality. Caretakers and researchers now need to worry less about the regularity or physical on-location presence of participants in a study because a lot of the study adherence can now be met with the surveys and active tasks that are part of the study app itself.
• Understanding the effect of pollution on health conditions
There are sensors available that can track the level of harmful chemicals and pollutants in the air. People these days report a lot of health conditions that doctors are often unable to explain with conventional diagnosis methods or with existing medical knowledge. However, there is a sense of agreement that the rising level of pollution in the air around is causing various kind of allergies and health issues in people. To be able to put a finger to the cause of these would pave the way to treating these conditions and so it would help to install sensors around areas where the study population frequent, and capture air pollution data from them and at the same time have the study population take surveys to answer questions that will help co-relate their health experiences with their environment.
• Detecting behavioral symptoms using video and audio capture
Without actually meeting the study subject every single day, it is now possible to capture video and voice samples using the provisions of mobile devices and frameworks. This is invaluable in terms of what it means for more data and more convenience for researchers. It helps them infer how variations in face expressions, voice tone and actions or content captured from these media samples, can reveal new insights into indicators and influencing factors for various aspects of mental health.
There are definitely several more possibilities and this was just a sampling! In the days to come, we are going to see amazing findings coming out of various research studies thanks to what technology is making possible!