Going remote: Implementing digital research methods at an academic medical center during COVID-19

Katie E. Keenoy, Eric J. Lenze, Ginger E. Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19 has forced medical research institutions to conduct clinical research remotely. Here, we describe how a university's mHealth Research Core helped facilitate the shift to remote research during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 (pre-pandemic), we conducted stakeholder interviews and leadership group sessions to identify, create, and implement resources and core functions to support investigator-initiated mHealth research. Between April 2019 and February 2020, we identified four investigator needs: 1) a seminar series on trends in mHealth research, 2) mHealth case consultation services, 3) liaison services with institutional regulatory compliance groups, and 4) online navigation tools for implementation of mHealth methods (e.g., eConsent) and for building partnerships with technology vendors. To date, the mHealth Research Core has held seven seminars, completed 71 case consultations, assisted four COVID-related clinical studies, advised the IRB on shifting to remote research, and widely disseminated eConsent navigation tools. Although pre-pandemic stakeholder and investigator needs led to the creation of the mHealth Research Core, this institutional resource played a critical role in continuing clinical research during the pandemic by assisting investigators in rapidly shifting to remote study methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere189
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 6 2021


  • COVID-19
  • IRB
  • agile project management
  • eConsent
  • mHealth research


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