Studienzentrum des Helmholtz-Zentrums für Infektionsforschung
The application PIA (prospective monitoring of acute infections-app) is a digital platform, which has been developed within the context of the German National Cohort (nako.de/informationen-auf-englisch/) since 2017 by the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection research in Brunswick (www.helmholtz-hzi.de/en/). It is already implemented in several epidemiological studies (e.g. ZIFCO: www.helmholtz-hzi.de/en/research/forschungsprojekte/view/projekt/detail/zifco/).
Generally, PIA is an application using questionnaires to assess health status and symptoms of individuals, with the possibility of including management of (self)-collected bio specimen and inform the study participant about the results within the app or sent an alarm to an response contact team. It also offers automatically sent push-notifications or e-mails if questionnaires are not answered within a specific time. The main idea behind PIA was to develop a digital tool, which allows evaluation of health status of study participants daily (e.g. as symptoms diary) or weekly, enables the implementation of bio specimen and provides the opportunity to report symptoms spontaneously. As generic survey tool, PIA is highly adaptable and can be used for research and management of the currentSARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
PIA has a special focus on data privay and IT security including successfully passing an external penetration test. As open source software, its code will be available under GPL 3.0 license shortly on GitHub.
PIA is already used to monitor respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections as well as tick bites. Due to its modular system, PIA has now been adapted to different needs emerging through the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This results for example in a version of PIA (PIA staff), which aims to monitor COVID-19 specific symptoms of health care workers and facilitate standardized management of medical staff including, optionally, in-app feedback of test results. All new PIA versions are adaptable to the specific setting or institution they will be used in.