Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Future of Informed Consent

Guest Blogger, Shannon Coveney, Clinical Research Coordinator, MedStar Health Research Institute 

Technology. This one word can make many thoughts come to mind. Some might think of their smartphone or laptop, while others might be focused on the high-speed connection and bandwidth of their products. Whatever the thought may be, if we truly think about the root and core of the word technology we think of research. Technology’s sole existence is due to and attributed to research. Research is why the telephone has evolved from a land-line to mobile or even why the “selfie” now has its own stick. What I’m trying to get at is research needs an overdue big THANK YOU from our good ole pal Mr. Technology. How can Mr. Technology make up for this, you might ask? I think I found a way...

On March 9th of this year, Apple announced its newest app for the iPhone called "Research Kit". This is an open source software framework that is specifically designed for the research field. Not sure what an open source software framework is? Well it’s a computer software with its own specific code that is made available to independent sources or corporations. Therefore Research Kit is essentially the framework for various, free to download, research apps.  Apple then reached out to some of the top universities and research organizations to see what they could do with this Research Kit software.

Here are the five conditions the apps focused on:


Each app differs in its contents and measures but what they all have in common are the fact that they are promoting/recruiting for research studies. Individuals are able to read consent forms, educate themselves on medical conditions as well as physically provide their signature for participation on their iPhone. 


University of Stanford had 11,000 potential participants sign up for there cardiovascular study in less than 24 hours! 

Now can you see it?? Technology is supporting and promoting research versus the other way around! That’s the big THANK YOU I was looking for.

I hope this blog opened your mind to how far the research field has come and the potential it has to develop even further. I leave this final question to you all: What are some successes and challenges you see for this mobile app in the research field today?


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Shannon for great guest blog post. I love how this post demonstrates how our MHRI associates are 'forward thinking' and looking at ways we can incorporate this technology, and others, into advancing health at MedStar.

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