Remind participants with push notifications

Jan 5, 2021

Dear Diary,

I have been struggling with an eating disorder for the past few years. I am afraid to eat and afraid I will gain weight. The fear is unjustified as I was never overweight. I have weighed the same since I was 12 years old, and I am currently nearing my 25th birthday. Yet, when I see my reflection, I see somebody who is much larger than reality.

I told my therapist that I thought I was fat. She said it was 'body dysmorphia'.
She explained this as a mental health condition where a person is apprehensive about their appearance and suggested I visit a nutritionist. She also told me that this condition was associated with other anxiety disorders and eating disorders. I did not understand what she was saying as I was in denial; I had a problem, to begin with. I wanted a solution without having to address my issues.

Upon visiting my nutritionist, he conducted an in-body scan and told me my body weight was dangerously low.

I disagreed with him.

I felt he was speaking about a different person than the person I saw in the mirror. I felt like the elephant in the room- both literally and figuratively. He then made the simple but revolutionary suggestion to keep a food diary to track what I was eating.

This was a clever way for my nutritionist and me to be on the same page. By recording all my meals, drinks, and snacks, I was able to see what I was eating versus what I was supposed to be eating. Keeping a meal diary was a powerful and non-invasive way for my nutritionist to walk in my shoes for a specific time and understand my eating (and thinking) habits.

No other methodology would have allowed my nutritionist to capture so much contextual and behavioural information on my eating patterns other than a daily detailed food diary.
However, by using a paper and pen, I often forgot (or intentionally did not enter my food entries) as I felt guilty reading what I had eaten or that I had eaten at all.

I also did not have the visual flexibility to express myself through using photos, videos, voice recordings, and screen recordings. The usage of multiple media sources would have allowed my nutritionist to observe my behaviour in real-time and gain a holistic view of my physical and emotional needs.

I confessed to my therapist my deliberate dishonesty in completing the physical food diary and why I had been reluctant to participate in the exercise. My therapist then suggested to my nutritionist and me to transition to a mobile diary study.

Whilst I used a physical diary (paper and pen), a mobile diary study app would have helped my nutritionist and me reach a common ground (and to be on the same page) sooner rather than later.

As a millennial, I wanted to feel like journaling was as easy as Tweeting or posting a picture on Instagram. But at the same time, I wanted to know that the information I  provided in a digital diary would be as safe and private as it would have been as my handwritten diary locked in my bedroom cabinet.

Further, a digital food diary study platform with push notifications would have served as a constant reminder to log in my food entries as I constantly check my phone. It would have also made the task of writing a food diary less momentous by transforming my journaling into micro-journaling by allowing me to enter one bite at a time rather than the whole day's worth of meals at once.

Mainly, the digital food diary could help collect the evidence that I was not the elephant in the room, but rather that the elephant in the room was my denied eating disorder.

The elephant in the room

Happy New Year from the team at Teamscope! 🎉

With the start of 2021, we are very excited to announce the release of Form reminders.

Teamscope started as a solution for researchers to collect data about their patients. Our initial use case was interview-based data collection; in other words, the researchers would ask questions, examine the subject, and then enter that information in a customisable form on our mobile app.

Researchers quickly asked us “can I use Teamscope as an app that my patients can use themselves to collect self-reported data?” The answer to those researchers was a definitive “yes”... followed by a quick “but...”.

With the existing Android and iOS apps and our permission management, this has always been possible. However, there was a limitation: participants or patients could not receive automatic reminders of when they should answer a set of questions. 

That all changes today! From our web dashboard, you can now assign reminders to any of your forms. When you set a reminder to a form, users within a study get a push notification reminding them to complete a form. 

What used to require a good memory of participants or considerable time investment from researchers to remind subjects is now a fully automated process. Push-notifications can now instruct any range of actions at predetermined times and thus promote more and better data.

For who is this new feature?

Reminders play a considerable role in studies where subjects have to enter data about themselves (i.e. self-reported data) at specific moments.

We believe that this feature will be a massive enhancement for researchers working in the following fields:

Patient-reported outcomes

A patient-reported outcome (PRO) is a health outcome directly reported by the patient who experienced it. In contrast to an outcome registered by a nurse or doctor, a PRO is self-reported and usually when the patient returns to their everyday life.

With reminders, you can build an electronic Patient-reported outcome (ePRO) mobile questionnaire and remind your patients to answer it, for example, for 15 days at 08:00 PM.

With reminders, you can build an electronic Patient-reported outcome (ePRO) mobile questionnaire and remind your patients to answer it, for example, for 15 days at 08:00 PM.

Experience Sampling Method

The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) is a research procedure for measuring people’s beliefs, feelings and behaviour during their daily lives. This research methodology is characterised by questionnaires that are in-the-moment; in other words, there and then.

With our new reminders feature, you can design, for example, a quality of life questionnaire, invite your subjects to install Teamscope on their mobile device, and remind them every day for 1 week to answer that form.


If appropriately used in the 21st century, data could save us from lots of failed interventions and enable us to provide evidence-based solutions towards tackling malaria globally. This is also part of what makes the ALMA scorecard generated by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance an essential tool for tracking malaria intervention globally.

If we are able to know the financial resources deployed to fight malaria in an endemic country and equate it to the coverage and impact, it would be easier to strengthen accountability for malaria control and also track progress in malaria elimination across the continent of Africa and beyond.

Odinaka Kingsley Obeta

West African Lead, ALMA Youth Advisory Council/Zero Malaria Champion

There is a smarter way to do research.

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There is a smarter way to do research.

Build fully customizable data capture forms, collect data wherever you are and analyze it with a few clicks — without any training required.

Learn more  

Ecological Momentary Assessments

Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) involves conducting repeated sampling of a subjects’ condition and experiences in real-time and in their natural environments. EMA studies are similar to Experience Sampling since they involve capturing subjects data in their daily lives but is characterised by involving psychological data; for example, blood pressure or body temperature. 

With reminders, you can design a medical questionnaire that patients must complete when they feel a specific symptom or every 24 hours. For example, you may ask them to take their blood sugar levels and enter them into the Teamscope app.

If online, this data can be immediately visible to the researchers, or if offline, the data is stored locally on the mobile device and uploaded at the next possible moment of internet connection. 

Daily diary

Daily diary studies collect qualitative information about a participant’s activities and experiences. Traditionally participants would use pen and paper journals to write down the events that occurred during a day and how they experienced them. 

Today pen and paper diaries have been replaced with electronic journals (eDiaries) which provide cleaner data and faster data analysis. Additionally, eDiaries offer the possibility to remind subjects once a day.

With our reminders feature, you can create a daily form that your participants can answer and remind them to log their daily data at 08:00 PM for a period of 30 days.

Main highlights

1. Different reminder types

Reminders can be rolling and custom. They can also end after a set amount of intervals or never end. More importantly, they are as flexible as you will ever be and very intuitive to set up. To learn more about how to configure reminders, read the following guide.

2. Flexibility for participants

As a study admin, you can assign a set time to remind participants. Yet, participants ultimately control the time at which reminders will appear on their mobile device and can easily adjust the time of each reminder from the mobile app to better fit their schedule.

3. Customisable push notifications

A push notification is a mobile notification that your participants will see on the mobile app when it’s time for them to answer a questionnaire. Push notifications have a title and subject, and you can easily customise its content from the web dashboard and make the message as engaging as possible.

Push notifications that are triggered by a reminder logic work offline, that means that your participants don't need an internet connection to receive reminders.

4. Track pending tasks

Your study participants might be busy at the time they get a reminder or miss it. For this reason, we have added a new screen on our app where your participants can keep track of any pending tasks or forms

5. Minimising alert fatigue

Push notifications are an easy way to reach participants, but the Peter Parker principle binds them: “With great power comes great responsibility”. 

When an alert is triggered too often or is annoying, it can cause alert fatigue. Alert fatigue can lead your participants to become desensitised to reminders, and it can quickly render them useless.

To minimise the risk of alert fatigue, the Teamscope app only sends a notification when an expected form has not been used within that day. This logic allows us to send the least amount of notifications to participants and avoid unnecessary alerts.

What’s next?

To learn how to use reminder checkout our article from our help center or schedule a live demo with our team.

Reminders and push notifications are currently only available on our Android app. The next step is to also implement this on our iOS app.

Another limitation that this first version of reminders has is that all users within a study (admin and participants) can receive notifications. We will be improving this in the coming months by allowing study admins to create groups of users (e.g. participants) and making it possible to configure reminders per group of users.

We look forward to an exciting year with many new functionalities - stayed tuned for new updates! 

- The team at Teamscope

Got a feature request? We love to hear from you and get any ideas on what you would like us to work on next or improve.

Dear Digital Diary,

I realized that there is an unquestionable comfort in being misunderstood. For to be understood, one must peel off all the emotional layers and be exposed.

This requires both vulnerability and strength. I guess by using a physical diary (a paper and a pen), I never felt like what I was saying was analyzed or judged. But I also never thought I was understood.

Paper does not talk back.Using a daily digital diary has required emotional strength. It has required the need to trust and the need to provide information to be helped and understood.

Using a daily diary has needed less time and effort than a physical diary as I am prompted to interact through mobile notifications. I also no longer relay information from memory, but rather the medical or personal insights I enter are real-time behaviours and experiences.

The interaction is more organic. I also must confess this technology has allowed me to see patterns in my behaviour that I would have otherwise never noticed. I trust that the data I enter is safe as it is password protected. I also trust that I am safe because my doctor and nutritionist can view my records in real-time.

Also, with the data entered being more objective and diverse through pictures and voice recordings, my treatment plan has been better suited to my needs.

No more elephants in this room

Diego Menchaca's profile picture

Diego Menchaca

Diego is the founder and CEO of Teamscope. He started Teamscope from a scribble on a table. It instantly became his passion project and a vehicle into the unknown. Diego is originally from Chile and lives in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

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