Developing a virtual assessment protocol for the AMPLIFI Randomized Controlled Trial due to COVID-19: From assessing participants' preference to preparing the team

Academic Article


  • Background During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person research assessments needed to be adapted to ensure safety of participants and staff. Participants' willingness to participate in research activities, how to prepare assessors to ensure data integrity, and the feasibility of modified protocols, were unknown. Within the AMPLIFI randomized clinical trial (RCT) for cancer survivors, we elicited participants' preferences and willingness to participate in Clinic, Home, or Virtual assessments, prepared assessors for, and implemented virtual assessments. Methods 1) We conducted phone surveys of potential AMPLIFI participants; 2) Based on survey results, we modified assessments from in-person to virtual visits (VV) by videoconference. Assessors were trained and certified, i.e., assessors recorded 3 assessments that were reviewed and scored by 2 investigators. The modified protocol was proposed to 62 participants: we report numbers of those who agreed to attend VV. Results 1) Survey results: Among 74 survey respondents, 44.6% preferred, 75.7% were willing to attend Clinic Visits; 32.4% preferred, 83.8% were willing to do VV; 23% preferred, 77% were willing to do Home Visits. Survivors 70+ were less likely than 50–69 years old to be willing to do VV: no other differences were noted by gender, race, rural status or education. 2) Assessment uptake: 66.1% agreed to attend VV, and of them 75.6% completed them. Conclusion Diverse research participants adapted to protocols that prioritize their safety, although older participants may be reluctant to do virtual assessments. Virtual assessments are feasible and research teams can rigorously prepare to collect quality data through them.
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    Author List

  • Pisu M; Omairi I; Hoenemeyer T; Halilova KI; Schoenberger YMM; Rogers LQ; Kenzik KM; Oster RA; Ivankova NV; Pekmezi D
  • Volume

  • 111