Design

The cPRO survey software platform is a database-driven application that supports web-based survey delivery on a variety of platforms, including web browsers, tablets, and smartphones (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone).  This summary page provides an overview of cPRO capabilities, and an introduction to the terminology and underlying model of the system.

Survey instruments can be created and edited or selected from a library of existing instruments, packaged together as "assessments" (sequences of survey instruments, with conditional "skip" logic), and delivered as "sessions." Sessions can be configured to require completion at one sitting, or to have a "save and return" feature, which can be limited by time or other external events. Both survey subjects and administrative/clinical users can be identified through a flexible authorization framework that allows use of assigned usernames and passwords, or third party authentication using GoogleID, Microsoft Live ID, OpenID, Shibboleth or (University of Washington) UWNetID.  The results of the sessions can be delivered to patients, clinicians, and researchers as "dashboard" elements, as population/panel reports, and as analysis data sets.

Survey object hierarchy

Each assessment is a combination of one or more instruments.  Instuments maybe validated survey instruments with score and sub-score calculations, or they may simply be local, ad-hoc questions.  These instruments can be shared between multiple assessments, so common instruments only need to be defined once. Each instrument is made up of a series of pages. Each page can contain one or more questions, and each question can contain one or more possible responses. Responses can be any one of the following user interface elements: radio buttons, check boxes  text boxes, yes and no buttons,  combinations of radio button and check boxes with text boxes, and "click on the image" responses such as body-region diagrams. User elements have been optimized for touch screen interfaces, and layouts scale for different sized devices.

Storage and display

All survey content, including text, formatting options, and assessment structure is stored in the database. When output to the screen, the text associated with each object is always treated as HTML. This allows highly customized presentations such as the inclusion of images,  video clips, or other multimedia elements.

A series of predefined substitution functions are provided, allowing such things as patient name and birth date to be easily inserted. These can be embedded in any of the survey objects. In addition, installations can define dynamically declared functions to provide customized substitution capabilities. This can be used to provide tailored output to patients based on their answers, or to randomize study group enrollment at a specific point of the assessment.

Entire instruments or specific pages can be configured to be shown only if certain conditions are met. A variety of predefined conditional functions are provided, such as checking that it is the patient's first survey session or that they have answered positively to the consent form. A system of dynamically declared functions, similar to that used for substitution, is also provided for local customization.

Utilities

cPRO also provides an "editing tool" web application which allows the creation and editing of instruments, and their linkage together into assessments, to be done without computer programming skills.  The tool also allows the definition of content formatting options, such as limiting navigation arrows, changing the orientation of response options, or specifying multiple columns for layout.

A research data access tool is provided as a way for researchers to download granular data from the database for subsequent statistical. The data access tool provides a basic overview of patients enrolled and recent sessions. The researcher can then choose a date range and look at a variety of views of the data. All views can be returned as HTML or delimited text files to make it easy to import into an analysis package.

Computer Adaptive Testing / Item Response Theory

The survey software includes a Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) / Item Response Theory (IRT) implementation, developed in order to implement survey instruments from the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).