Trial Symptom Tracker app
How BRACE uses this custom-built smartphone app
The purpose of the BRACE trial is to find out whether BCG vaccination protects against or reduces severity of COVID-19 in healthcare workers. The Trial Symptom Tracker app allows us to capture the data we need to answer this question.
The app, powered by WeGuide, allows the study team to track any symptoms you might experience when you become unwell, and how the severity of these symptoms impacts your life.
APP REMINDER: Keep checking in until your final 12-month blood visit
Please continue to use the Trial Symptom Tracker app between your 12-month milestone post vaccination and when you have your final 12-month blood visit. It is important to keep checking in during this period – which can be up to 42 days – so that our serological analysis considers any illnesses. After your final 12-month blood visit, you can delete the app – unless you are a participant in the BRACE COVID-19-Specific vaccine sub-study (BCOS).
New features in v1.2.7
On April 26, 2021, the Trial Symptom Tracker app v1.2.7 was released with these new features:
Ability to change your reminder time through the app settings
Fixed issue for some participants where weekly notifications had stopped.
Trial Symptom Tracker FAQs
It is critical that you get a COVID-19 test when you have any symptom of respiratory disease. Without this information, we cannot determine the effect of the BCG vaccine. Even if you do not suspect exposure to COVID-19, you must still get a COVID-19 test. Otherwise, our trial will have missing data, which undermines the outcomes of the study. Please contact your study coordinator if you have any concerns.
The outcomes of the study also rely on careful reporting of the severity of your illness. For example, whether you have been hospitalised or so sick that you have been unable to work or go about your normal activities. Please ensure you report how many days you have been too unwell to go to work or do normal activities.
You can now change when you receive your symptom check-in notification to any time between 7am and 10pm. Simply press the ‘settings’ icon on the bottom right-hand side of the ‘Your Diary’ screen.
In response to the changing methods of testing available across our BRACE sites, we have updated the COVID-19 test methods you can report in the app. The method of COVID-19 testing is asked in the ‘End of Episode’ survey, and in the new ‘Report COVID-19 result’ survey.
There are now two new tasks available each time you open your app in the ‘Your Diary’ screen, along with your Daily symptom check:
1. Report COVID-19 Result
This allows you to report any regular asymptomatic tests you may have at your workplace, or tests you have if you are a close contact of a positive case. It is important you also do a daily symptom check for the date you were tested, so the BRACE team knows if this test was asymptomatic. If you are unwell, you will still be asked to report your COVID-19 test result in the ‘End of Episode’ survey once your symptoms resolve.
2. Report COVID-19 Vaccination
You can now tell us when you receive any COVID-19-specific-vaccines. We will ask the date you were vaccinated, and which vaccine you received. We will then confirm this data with you in your next 3-monthly survey. It is important you still get tested each time you experience fever or respiratory symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The calendar and the colour indication
The first time you launch the app, you will see a calendar. Past dates appear in purple and future dates in grey. When you start doing symptom check-ins, according to the entry and whether you have selected any symptoms, the calendar date will show up in different colours:
- Purple: You have not done any symptom logging on this date, and a daily check-in is available if you would like to report symptoms
- Blue: You were not in an illness episode on this date, and you have done the symptom check-in on this date. You have reported mild or no symptoms, there is no further action required by you
- Red: Since you have previously entered symptom information, we suspect you might be in an illness episode on this date. The date shows up in red to remind you to do the symptom check-in on this date.
- Green: Since you have previously entered symptom information, we suspect you might be in an illness episode on this date. The date shows up in green confirming you have done the symptom check-in on this date.
My Trial Symptom Journal
On the top right of the main screen, there is a ‘Journal’ icon. By clicking this, you can see the data you have previously entered. However, the data cannot be edited.
You can route back to the home screen by clicking on the ‘Back’ button on the top left.
I’ve been entering data to my Symptom Tracker app, and I am sure I have not forgotten, but I am still being contacted regarding missing information. What am I doing wrong?
Check your device is connected to Wifi. The information you input into the app on your device will only synchronise with the database when Wifi is enabled and connected.
Once you submit your responses via the app you can’t change them. In this case, contact us via the Study Info icon, which can be found on the bottom of the screen when you open your Symptom Tracker app. Alternatively, please email email@example.com.
Your weekly check-in option will appear seven days after your last entry indicating that you have no symptoms of illness to report. For example, if you enter data on a Monday, the weekly option will pop up the next Monday. Should you miss seeing that option it will still be available on Tuesday.
TIP: set your own weekly reminder on your phone.
If you have previously entered symptom information, for example: fever, persistent/intermittent cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing or sore throat, you will need to continue doing this every day until you are well AND you have indicated your return to health by entering “None of the above”.
Check the ‘receive notifications’ option is switched on in your device. Secondly, ensure your version of the Trial Symptom Tracker app is always current by enabling the automatic updates function in your smartphone or iPad.
When no activity has been uploaded to the database for two or three weeks, we will send an SMS reminder. If we still don’t see any activity, we will call to make sure you’re okay!
Yes please. Every time you are unwell, please enter your symptoms into your Trial Symptom Tracker in a daily symptom check entry.
Please only enter symptoms when you are feeling unwell. If you are prone to getting headaches when stressed or tired, you don’t need to log these here. You also don’t need to log symptoms due to hay fever.
You are certainly welcome to, but you don’t have to! You only need to log symptoms daily if you are unwell, otherwise you just need to do a weekly symptom check-in.
The app will remind you to get tested each day you report trigger symptoms, regardless of whether you’ve already reported being tested.
In version 1.2.4 you can report this via the ‘Report COVID-19 result’ task at any time. You will be asked the date you got tested, method of testing, and your result. Please also do a daily symptom check-in for the date you were tested, so we can confirm it was a test done on a day you were not experiencing symptoms.
I was tested for COVID-19 when I had a runny/blocked nose and ‘other’ symptoms. Where do I report the result of my COVID-19 test?
In version 1.2.4 you can now report this via the ‘Report COVID-19 result’ task at any time. You will be asked the date you got tested, method of testing and your result. Please also do a daily symptom check-in for the date you were tested, and record all symptoms you were experiencing on the day you had your test, through to the day you returned to being symptom-free.
In version 1.2.4 click ‘settings’ on the bottom right-hand side. You can change the reminder/notification time to between 7am and 10pm.
- You complete app check-ins reporting any COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing, and then stop completing check-ins, and don’t report that the symptoms have resolved
- You complete app check-ins reporting you have had fever, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing and you now have no symptoms, but the end of illness questions haven’t been competed in the app
- You complete your daily symptom check-ins retrospectively, indicating that you’ve had an episode of illness that has resolved. In this instance, the app doesn’t ask the end of illness questions, so we need to follow this up with you
- If you report being tested for COVID-19, but we don’t have the result (eg when you complete the end of illness questions, and have reported you’re still waiting for the result)
- If you report that you have been unwell and confined to bed for three or more days
- You report being admitted to hospital
- You report a COVID-19 test in the Report COVID-19 Result section, but do not enter a daily record for that date. We will contact you to confirm your symptoms on the day of the test.
When Professor Nigel Curtis (head of Infectious Diseases at RCH) was first approached to run a clinical trial by WHO in early 2020, he needed a more efficient way to collect data from the thousands of participants. He was introduced to WeGuide, and the teams worked together around the clock to design, scope, test and implement the Trial Symptom Tracker app within three weeks - something that would normally take up to six months. The Trial Symptom Tracker app is a collaboration between MCRI and the digital patient engagement platform WeGuide. The WeGuide team worked closely with the study coordinators to configure the application to fit the exact requirements of the study. MCRI is currently using the WeGuide application to drive the data collection for a number of other studies aside from the BRACE trial.
The WeGuide platform, is purpose built for digital engagement and data capture within healthcare, and complies with all relevant security standards and regulations, including GDPR, HIPAA, Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), OWASP Healthcare guidelines, Australian Privacy Act, ISO’s and SOC2.
MCRI and the WeGuide team have a close relationship, and are our digital partners on this project. MCRI receives feedback from participants and passes this on to WeGuide for design and development. So, please email any app feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org, as it can help improve everyone’s experience. If you have any specific questions regarding the digital engagement platform WeGuide, please email email@example.com.