Creating Global Health Research That Sticks

More often than not, the constraints that magnify health problems in under-developed countries, like lack of infrastructure, make the simple act of collecting data for a global health research study difficult. The key to success in this modern era of global health research is leveraging ‘sticky’ technology. Despite the unhygienic connotation of the word, it doesn’t refer to the goo that harvests at the bottom of movie theater floors. Instead, ‘Sticky Technology’ helps form a relationship between participants and studies – incentivizing them to continuously engage and actively participate in the study.

There are four components of ‘sticky’ technology – access, triggers, ability, and motivators. Access and ability are especially important to global health research because of the situation in which it is conducted. Below are examples of how our customers use remote data collection and other features of our survey software to take advantage of these two components of ‘sticky’ technology, helping improve data collection and engagement for global health research.


Researchers in remote parts of the world need to be able to access their surveys and forms in order to conduct their research. Our remote data collection feature allows researchers to collect data and engage participants without an internet connection, then seamlessly and securely upload that data when one is restored. Similarly, a custom GPS solution built to identify participants using unique barcodes, enables them to track participants who do not have a permanent address, but rather a permanent geo-location. Combining remote data collection with this solution, our customer in Sub-Saharan Africa are able to capture data from over two dozen sites for a study focused on community wide HIV prevention. This ‘sticky’ technology gives them access to places where data collection was previously too difficult or time-consuming.


A technology with a user interface built for simplicity ensures capturing data is as simple as possible. This is important for two reasons:

  1. It reduces the time needed for training researchers in the field.
  2. It reduces cognitive burden, especially among those who lack experience with survey software.

The use of modular surveys give interviewers in the field the ability to not have to follow a sequential interview path, thereby allowing them to save or resume a section, if previously interrupted. Our customer conducting a country-wide census in the Middle East utilizes modular surveys to give interviewers the ability to return to a household and capture further information, resulting in less frustration with time-restrictions and better data quality.

The ability to sync data to the other side of the world expedites study analysis. Instead of waiting months to see how the study is progressing, these remote analysis teams can see progress in real-time allowing them to make adjustments if needed.

To achieve “stickiness” for global health research studies, use a technology that provides access, with features such as remote data collection, and ability. In doing so, you will be set up for success. Feel free to contact me to learn more about how our ‘sticky’ technology creates relationships that lead to higher engagement and better data collection.

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