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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic brought two months of campus-wide limited operations at UNM, which resulted in restricted access to clinic populations, limiting in-person study recruitment and assessment opportunities. This presentation highlights the innovative measures taken by the UNM College of Pharmacy’s Substance Use Research and Education (SURE) Center in response to pandemic-induced constrains to ensure continuous enrollment and data collection in ongoing studies.

Methods: Research activities were maintained remotely through novel implementation of several technologies. To recruit participants remotely, a study coordinator contacts providers with the names of potentially eligible patients, after which a contact form is submitted via REDCap by the provider for all interested patients. Informed consent is performed remotely by sending consent forms to eligible patients via an emailed REDCap survey link. The entire consent is reviewed electronically and includes designated signature fields to sign remotely.

Remote data collection methods include interview data collected via REDCap through survey forms sent to participants’ email addresses, Garmin wearable devices to collect maternal physiological data, substance use data collected through the Ilumivu mEMA cellular app, and child physiological data through a pressure sensor placed under the child’s crib.

Results: Remote recruitment allowed for continued study recruitment despite restricted physical access to clinics. Remote informed consents provided a new way to get participant consent in accordance with social distancing measures that is in compliance with IRB protocols. Remote data collection allowed for continuous data collection without the physical presence of a study coordinator.

Conclusions: Novel methods for remote recruitment, enrollment, and remote data collection have allowed for continued engagement of target populations and have minimized missing data. These methods can be applied across brain and behavioral health research to meet the challenges of the pandemic by allowing innovative ways to contact participants in the absence of an in-person visit.


Poster presented at the Brain & Behavioral Health Research Day 2021



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