How We Work

The mEMA System

The alternative to creating your own app is to use an end-to-end EMA and EMI platform that handles all your data streams in a cohesive manner bringing everything into one database with a consistent naming and timestamping protocol. Ideally, a system that can be accessed by anyone with a Smartphone and quickly customized to capture exactly the data you need.  

That’s why we created mEMA in 2009. It’s the most innovative EMA and EMI platform in the world today. We can get your complete study up and running on time and on budget.

The mEMA System is for researches planning an EMA or EMI study who want to successfully complete you data collection within the timeline and budget you promised on your grant application.  

So remember, the Harvard Medical group were able to discover previously unknown phenotypes in suicide ideation by taking repeating measures at multiple times a each day and using latent profile analysis

The Boston Children’s’ Hospital group took an already effective marijuana abuse treatment program and made it even better by sending personalized messages to their patients at just the right moment. 

And the Johns Hopkins group revealed a much deeper understanding of the cognitive and affective mechanism that lead Sickle Cell Disease patients to choose short or long-acting prescription opioids throughout their day.  

These are just three examples from dozens of studies the mEMA System has supported over the last ten years.

Using the mEMA System, you will be able to:

  • Allow your participants to use their own phones, no burden or cost of additional devices
  • Add objective, contextual data to self-report measures – such as location, phone acceleration, ambient light and sound, phone use and so on
  • Collect data from wearable devices – for instance we are fully integrated with Garmin wearables so can capture real-time heart rate, HRV, stress, steps and get daily summaries of various other metrics including sleep
  • Easily move through the IRB and university tech audit – we’ve done it hundreds of times
  • Put your study on auto-pilot and watch the data roll in
  • Access support whenever you need it for troubleshooting with participants
  • Know how much data you have at any time and who is in compliance

How We Work

A subscription to the mEMA System allows you to iterate on your design at no additional cost. Once you have access to the mEMA System you can build-test-refine as many times as you need to without incurring additional costs or waiting for someone else do to the work. You just do it yourself.

Our business model has always been to do all the development heavy lifting and provide the system to multiple researchers at once so no group is paying the full load of employing app developers. This allows us to offer the functionality you need at a much more affordable price. It also means that researchers get the benefit of updates and additional features added for others at no extra cost.

If you need a feature that mEMA doesn’t already carry and it is something that other researchers are likely to use then we will add it for you. This is how we’ve built the entire system – in response to the requests of researchers. It is continually growing as we interact with more researchers doing more and more innovative work. 

For instance, for a group from the University of Minnesota we recently added the ability to capture audio recordings of participants reading a standard passage so the recordings can be used for voice analysis work. They are interested in capturing emotional states through voice feature detection. This is now a standard part of our Professional License.

mEMA System Components

The mEMA System is comprised on two main components – the web portal where you log in to create your surveys, notification schedules and find your data – and the mobile apps on Apple and Android with which your participants interact to provide data. 

It allows you to capture self-report data, contextual data from the phone sensors – such as ambient light and noise, acceleration, phone usage, and local humidity. You can integrate various wearable devices to capture Heart Rate, HRV, Stress, Steps, Sleep and activity. You can also run cognitive tests through the mEMA apps which collect reaction time data to millisecond precision. 

You don’t need any programming experience – you simply type and click icons to set everything up. Your data are stored securely and in our HIPAA and GDPR compliant platform. You can send unlimited surveys and notifications to your participants and include up to 1,500 participants at any time. 

We start each license with an online training session to show you how to use everything you need to set up your study. Then you will have access to our online Help Desk which provides written and video tutorials. Our staff are available by email and phone to make sure you have everything you need to run a successful EMA or EMI study.