Pocket PC Data Collection Solution
NOVA Research Company, a provider of innovative technology, consulting, and research support services to the global health and research communities, announced commercial availability of QDS(TM) version 2.4, the latest release of its widely used Questionnaire Development System software. Developed specifically to meet the unique needs of clinical and behavioral researchers, QDS(TM) 2.4 marks the addition of a handheld HAPI(TM) (Handheld-Assisted Personal Interview) Pocket PC module to its suite of survey software and new, expanded functionality for data collection. The new Pocket PC module is expected to increase user acceptance rates by 30 percent and reduce the cost of conducting complex multisite field research studies by 40 percent while allowing researchers to collect data in areas where use of a bulky laptop computer is not an option.
First introduced in 1997, QDS(TM) is known for its ability to simplify and automate survey administration, increase efficiency, and cut survey development time by up to 50 percent. QDS(TM) offers the unique ability to produce all materials needed to administer a questionnaire survey simultaneously in a variety of modes — paper, desktop, laptop, tablet PC, and now PDA Pocket PC — all from a single set of easily maintained specifications and without having to hire a computer programmer. QDS(TM) also promotes re- use of field-tested questions by providing the capability to copy specifications among questionnaires. In addition, the product allows data to be exported directly into other software programs, such as SAS, SPSS, and MS Access, for data analysis.
“Researchers have asked for a handheld data collection module that will increase interviewee acceptance rates in more public venues. The QDS 2.4 HAPI(TM) Pocket PC questionnaire module offers greater portability, increased flexibility, and faster completion of surveys,” said Peggy L. Young, President and CEO of NOVA Research Company. “It also lets researchers tailor the method of survey administration to the comfort level of the respondent, which is important when collecting sensitive or personal data or administering surveys in public settings such as shopping malls and bars. An added benefit is that research teams worldwide can now collaborate more effectively and continue to work in real time by using a wireless connection to upload data collected via a PDA to a central location anywhere in the world,” she continued.
QDS(TM) gives researchers more flexibility in managing survey data from clinical studies that identify problems potentially in need of preventive, therapeutic, or supportive services. The latest version, QDS HAPI(TM) for the Pocket PC personal digital assistant, is extremely practical for field studies.
“The new, expanded QDS(TM) version 2.4 lets me continue to ensure quality of data reconciled from different versions of behavioral research questionnaires, no matter which survey method is used,” said Phil Batterham, data management coordinator at the UCLA Center for Community Health in Los Angeles. Batterham has used QDS(TM) to implement and administer interviews for various research projects that involve high-risk populations (such as people living with HIV and homeless adolescents). “The automated questionnaire’s skips and checks are extremely useful, as the typical interview can take 1 to 2 hours and involve up to 1,000 questions based on 2,000 or more elements on background characteristics, risk behaviors, emotional well-being, health behaviors, and habits,” he added.
Dr. Adam Rosenblatt, Co-Principal Investigator of The Maryland Assisted Living Study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is piloting the QDS-HAPI(TM) on Pocket PCs in a study in which he uses a Structured Clinical Interview for DSM, or SCID, to monitor a large number (300) of participants or residents in 26 unrelated assisted living facilities in order to determine the change in rates of psychiatric problems residents may experience.
New Features of the QDS 2.4 HAPI(TM) (Handheld-Assisted Personal Interview) module
— Wider portability. The new HAPI(TM) module allows users to be more mobile and conduct personal interviews using a Pocket PC handheld computer, eliminating carrying a heavy, more expensive laptop computer. — Automated edits. An enhanced edit feature allows users to automatically launch a second questionnaire if the respondent qualifies to move on to the next stage of a field-administered survey or needs a more in-depth diagnostic assessment. — Password protection. In line with stringent FDA compliance requirements for certain clinical trials and studies, QDS(TM) 2.4 has the ability to encrypt responses and password-protect questionnaires so that only authorized users can view and export collected data. — Customized reporting. Users can automatically generate customized reports in real time at any point in the baseline interview in order to better determine trends. Report elements support new types of substitution tokens that retrieve question text, question probes, and interviewer comments from the current interview.
QDS(TM) is a modular system consisting of three major components: Design Studio, Data Collection Modules, and Warehouse Manager. The four data collection modules include: Data Entry for paper questionnaires; CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal Interview) for face-to-face interviewing; ACASI (Audio Computer-Administered Self-Interview) for more sensitive data collection and for interviewing respondents with reading difficulties; and HAPI(TM) (Handheld-Assisted Personal Interview) for the Pocket PC. Current QDS(TM) users can upgrade existing modules by downloading version 2.4 at $125 per module. Now that the QDS-HAPI(TM) module has been released, NOVA is in rapid-development mode to program a QDS-Web(TM) module for Web survey administration from the same Design Studio specification file.
About NOVA Research Company
Founded in 1986, NOVA Research Company is the trusted leader in providing innovative technology, consulting, and research support services to the global health and research communities. NOVA has worked worldwide with leading commercial research organizations; 31 universities and academic research institutions; more than 24 Government agencies, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the World Health Organization (WHO). NOVA has a 19-year track record of facilitating cost-effective and timely transfer of technology and information from research and clinical labs. Funded through a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant, NOVA’s QDS(TM) Questionnaire Development System software has been used extensively in biomedical and behavioral health studies in ten countries. In addition, NOVA is a GSA (General Services Administration) — certified supplier to Federal and state agencies. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, privately held NOVA has onsite research teams in Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore and Hyattsville, Maryland; and Berkeley, California.
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