The ​University of Iceland uses SMART-TRIAL and eConsent to uncover the impacts of COVID-19 on a modern society

May 8, 2020

A large COVID-19 research project uses SMART-TRIAL to gather data on Icelanders wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Resilience COHORT is a one-of-a-kind study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of Icelanders. The novel virus has impacted many lives and this project aims to understand people’s behaviours and their physical and mental health during the pandemic.

The project Resilience cohort is undertaken by scientists at the Center of Public Health Sciences at the University of Iceland, in collaboration with the Medical Directorate of Health, the Chief Epidemiologist of Iceland, several foreign research institutions, and supported by the Icelandic government and SMART-TRIAL. 

The pandemic has left the world with unprecedented challenges and according to the WHO the crisis has been generating stress throughout the population. Research programs are needed to significantly advance the understanding of the effects of the pandemic on people’s physical and mental health.

All Icelanders, 18 years or older, are invited to participate in the COVID-19 Resilience Cohort. Using eConsent and the Icelandic national electronic identification (Rafraen skilríki or Íslykill), participants sign their informed consent digitally. The Resilience Cohort study takes advantage of the SMART-TRIAL electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO) system for data collection and management. The system automatically sends participants a web-based questionnaire on their mental and physical health, exposure to COVID-19 related factors within the family, change in lifestyle and social interactions. The participants are then prospectively followed in subsequent study waves and by record linkage to the nationwide health registers. 

“We knew we wanted to conduct a COVID-19 study early on in the Pandemic to better understand the larger societal and public health consequences of COVID-19.  The process from idea to study setup to data collection has been quick and SMART-TRIAL has enabled us to do this smoothly. Having utilised the data management system previously for a large study similar to this one, we knew we could rely on SMART-TRIAL to handle our requirements on data security, integration and usability” 

Says  Unnur Anna Valdimarsdottir, Principal Investigator and professor of epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland.

SMART-TRIAL is the primary tool for data collection in this project. VP of Global Business Development, Jon Ingi Bergsteinsson added

“We are immensely proud to be able to offer SMART-TRIAL’s data collection capabilities to support such an important project. In order to better understand the societal impact of COVID-19 , and to better prepare for future pandemics, we need to gather as much information as possible. But this can be a daunting task, especially during times of social distancing. This is where the combination of eConsent and SMART-TRIAL’s integrated ePRO via email and SMS are of great use for this project” 

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