The latest technologies in digital health

Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent but also most preventable cancers. Studies assessing skin cancer prevention programs rely heavily on assessing sun exposure behaviours. Traditionally studies collect participant’s self-reported data in a paper-based sun diary format. To improve retention rates and decrease the burden to research participants, apps could be used to collect self-reported data.

In the study published in JMIR Protocols Dr Elke Hacker and her team constructed an app to record daily sun exposure, sunburn and physical activity levels. The researchers asked participants to use the app sun diary, in addition to a paper sun diary and wear a UVR dosimeter watch that captures UVR readings over 7 days.

Participants found they preferred the app over the paper diary and the self-reported app correlated highly with the UVR dosimeter.

We can expect to see more research studies utilising apps as a reliable form of data collection in the future.

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