Ruediger Pryss, University of Würzburg and University Hospital Würzburg
Hitherto, I was able to gain profound experiences in “app research and development” through several large-scale mHealth projects. It all started with mobile data collection projects in Africa (almost 10 years ago), in which we investigated health aspects like the depression of AMISOM soldiers (i.e., African Union Mission to Somalia; a mission approved by the UN). Based on many experiences gained in Africa, we started to exploit the concept of mobile crowdsensing to investigate moment-by-moment variations of chronic disorders like Tinnitus. The project TrackYourTinnitus (www.trackyourtinnitus.org) is running since 2014 and has gathered over 100,000 questionnaires from affected users and patients. Based on these and other projects, we started to participate in projects with much larger scopes and funding like the CHRODIS+ project of the EU (http://chrodis.eu/). In the latter project, I was responsible for the mHealth task, which investigated the use of our technology in a pan-European setting. The goal was to reveal aspects that help to develop guidelines that can be used across different countries in the same way. At present, our technology is used in a project of the European Union (https://uniti.tinnitusresearch.net/), which investigates new treatment approaches for tinnitus patients in a very large setting across several countries. Here, our technology was improved with new features like a psycho-educational module.
Altogether, and against the illustrated background, my expertise in mobile app development and research for healthcare in a broader context has been developed for many years, which hopefully can be a little help for the COMPASS project.
I am a member of the executive board of the COMPASS project, together with Prof. Krefting (University of Göttingen), Dr. Elsner (University of Mainz) and Dr. Gocke (Charite Berlin). I joined the project with the goal to meet and collaborate with the clinical experts in mobile app research in Germany to address questions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the light of current efforts as well as setbacks of governments and private institutions to foster contact tracing by the help of apps, many questions arise that will outlast the pandemic. These questions are important for me and therefore I was very interested to join the project. Two more reasons were of further relevance. First, COMPASS addresses a mixture of app dimensions that are already known to be important in research and practice. For example, to adhere to important interoperability standards in terms of data management must be considered. However, COMPASS adds new dimensions that have been less considered in app research so far. For example, the proper consideration of regulatory requirements becomes more and more important but has been neglected for too long. The combination of well-known dimensions with new ones like the regulatory part of the app world made COMPASS very appealing to be part of. Second, the period of time, in which COMPASS shall accomplish its major results (i.e., 7-9 months) was also appealing since mobile app developments normally require much longer. From such a time pressure, mHealth app projects in general and in the future may learn a lot, therefore it was attractive to see how the project can proceed here. Finally, to combine nine university clinics of Germany to lift something big in app research and development was the icing on the cake to join COMPASS, together with my dear members of the executive board, including all members and partners.
For more information, see: https://num-compass.science/en/