What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of May 2, 2022  - Vibrent
Blog | May 02, 2022

What Researchers Need to Know for the Week of May 2, 2022 

Retaining and engaging participants in research programs – especially ones that span years – is a constant challenge for health researchers. This past week, health research publications explored a few related questions.

Wearables are an exciting opportunity for researchers to gather more momentary data – but are they valuable if they’re not accessible to groups underrepresented in biomedical research?

How can technology help researchers to promote inclusion, equity, and diversity?

MHealth apps continue to gain popularity in health research programs, but there are barriers to engagement. How can researchers overcome them to increase retention?

We’ve curated articles that explore each of these questions, as well as headlines on metabolism and genetics in cancer research, EHR data interoperability, and AI and machine learning in health research.

Keep reading to stay connected with the most exciting topics in the research community this week.

All of Us Research Program News 

Wearable device data need to represent all of us

A recent study conducted by the All of Us Research program revealed that most people who use smartwatches and other wearable devices that can track health are white, well-educated, and wealthy. It is important to address this gap because wearables present researchers with the opportunity to collect data on metrics such as physical activity and heart rate. Yashoda Sharma, AoU Principal Investigator, discusses the findings from the study and what can be done to encourage the use of wearables in underrepresented communities.

Research Participant Engagement 

Technology considerations to promote inclusion, equity, and diversity in clinical research

There is still a considerable disconnect between health research the diverse populations around the globe that the industry aims to serve. With the expansion in broadband access and digital technologies, researchers can take steps to increase participant diversity and be more inclusive. Our CEO “PJ” Jain explains how in his latest article published by Medcity News.

Challenges in Participant Engagement and Retention Using Mobile Health Apps

Retaining participants is an ongoing challenge for studies using mHealth apps. Despite the continued success of mHealth apps in research, there are many barriers to participant retention and long-term engagement. The insights from this review will help inform future studies about potential strategies and factors to consider that can improve mHealth app engagement and retention.

Genomics in Research

Metabolomics and multi-omics perspective of cancer show promise for finding new treatments

Does a person’s genetics mean cancer may be inevitable? Some scientists say no – as they begin to further explore metabolic factors in disease.

Cancer may be tied deeply to genetics, research from the University of Alberta points to a need for scientists to explore environmental, metabolic, and genomic information in the big picture of cancer. 

EHR & Clinical Data

A fragmented EHR market is fueling interoperability divide, says ONC study

Researchers from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT recently found that various factors, such as federal incentive programs, value-based care participation and electronic health record developer market segmentation, can affect the rate of interoperable exchange by physicians. They discovered that differences in practice size could lead to unequal benefits from information exchange.

The researchers found that practices of different sizes use EHRs from different developers. The choice a practice makes appears to be an important factor in the data exchange and integration capabilities a practice will have.

AI & Machine Learning in Research

Researchers test the power of machine learning to unravel long Covid’s mysteries

Using the first of it’s kind centralized database of electronic health records called the National Covid Cohort Collaborative, or N3C, researchers are hoping to identify potential study participants for long Covid research. Since so much is still unknown about long Covid it is a challenge to find patients with the disease to participate in research.

While the researchers developing the algorithm still need to secure NIH approval for their work, they feel it will responsibly help recruit for research to provide answers for those suffering from the disease and doctors trying to diagnose it.

The investigative team at N3C has some thoughtful considerations for working with algorithms that apply to research broadly. It will also be noteworthy to see if the NIH approves funding for their efforts.

More to read

Technology considerations to promote inclusion, equity and diversity in clinical research
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