The REDCap Mobile Application: a data collection platform for research in regions or situations with internet scarcity

JAMIA Open. 2021 Sep 13;4(3):ooab078. doi: 10.1093/jamiaopen/ooab078. eCollection 2021 Jul.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To share our approach for designing, developing, and deploying the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) Mobile Application, details about its dissemination and support through the REDCap Consortium, and a set of lessons learned and guidance recommendations for others developing mobile platforms to support research in regions or situations with internet scarcity.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We defined minimum viable product requirements centered around Android and iOS platform availability, data capture specifications and project initiation workflow, study data synchronization, and data security. After launch, we added features based on feedback from end-users and REDCap administrators. We prioritized new features based on expected impact, difficulty, and anticipated long-term cost for sustainability.

RESULTS: We chose Apache Cordova, a combined iOS and Android development framework, based on targeted end-user technology expectations, available programmer resources, and the need to provide solutions for resource-limited settings. The REDCap Mobile Application was launched in 2015, has been enabled at over 800 REDCap Consortium partner organizations, and has supported diverse scientific studies around the world.

DISCUSSION: Apache Cordova enabled early software releases for both iOS and Android, but required ongoing optimization efforts to improve software responsiveness. Developing a robust and efficient mobile device synchronization architecture was difficult without direct access to global network infrastructures for testing. Research teams in sub-Saharan Africa helped our development team understand and simulate real-world scenarios of intermittent internet connectivity.

CONCLUSION: Guidance recommendations based on designing, developing, deploying, and disseminating the REDCap Mobile Application may help other teams looking to develop clinical research informatics applications.

PMID:34527889 | PMC:PMC8435658 | DOI:10.1093/jamiaopen/ooab078

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