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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to use Avicenna?

Avicenna provides a free version which can be used to try out Avicenna and the features it provides. The free version provides all the features that are available in the Paid version, and it never expires.

You do need to upgrade to the Paid version if you intend to use Avicenna for a pilot or main study. Our pricing depends on three factors:

  1. The type of data you plan to collect. You can read about the available data sources here.
  2. The length of the study, i.e. how long you plan to collect data from each participant.
  3. The maximum number of participants you expect to enrol.

Please contact us and we would be happy to provide more details.

How study data is uploaded?

Avicenna app automatically uploads the collected data when there is an Internet connection available. By default Avicenna uses any Internet connection (mobile or Wi-Fi), but you can change this for your study and set it to use Wi-Fi only. Participants can also change this setting anytime on their phone via the "Upload via Wi-Fi only" option.

The data appears on the website as soon as they are uploaded from the phone.

Can participants stop data collection?

Yes. Avicenna provides participants with a few different ways to stop the data collection any time they want, either permanently or temporarily.

If you want participants to be able to permanently disable a data source, but still be part of the study, you can set that data source to optional. This instructs the Avicenna app to give participants this option to opt out from this data source if they choose to.

Participants can also temporarily disable data collection at any time by going to the app and pressing "Pause Participation". This will stop all automatic data collection for one hour. The data collection will resume automatically after one hour. Note that participants will continue to receive surveys during this time, if there are any surveys scheduled.

Is Avicenna GDPR Compliant?

As a data processor, Avicenna does comply with GDPR regulations and currently multiple European institutions have Data Controller/Data Processor agreements with Avicenna in place.

Below we explain how our privacy policy and overall system architecture is set to comply with GDPR requirements.

  1. GDPR does apply to Avicenna, as a data processor.
  2. Participant unambiguous consent

Our software will require each study to have a consent form. As explained in section 6.2. of our Privacy Policy, the consent form is required to "... specify, among other things, (1) what is the purpose of the study (2) what are the potentials risks or benefits to you as the Participant (3) what type of data is being collected (each referred to as a Data Source) (4) how the data will be handled and who will have access to the data (5) how you can contact the Researcher (6) what is the withdrawal process."

This consent form will be presented to participants prior to joining a study, and they have to agree to this before being able to participate. The consent form is available to the participant throughout the study participation.

  1. Further processing outside of what mentioned in the consent form

Avicenna does not perform any processing on the data collected for a given study.

  1. Participants right to access their data

Avicenna provides each participant with an online account. The credentials of that account are the same as the ones used to sign up in the Avicenna app. Participants can log in to their online account on Avicenna's website at any time to access their data.

  1. Participant's right to delete their data

Avicenna allows participants to delete all or part of their data directly through their online account (as described in Section 10.6 of the Privacy Policy). If the participant does not have enough technical skills to use this option, she can contact our support for assistance.

  1. Data Portability

Participants in any Avicenna study can contact Avicenna's Support team and ask for a copy of their data. We will provide them with a machine-readable file containing all data collected from them.

  1. Data Storage and flow

Avicenna stores all data on servers physically located in Canada. All Avicenna employees and support staff are also located in Canada, therefore the data does not flow to any country other than Canada. Canada is considered by the EU Data Protection Commission as a country that provides adequate data protection.

You can find more information in Avicenna's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. For example, Section 6.5. Data Sources We May Collect From the Participant, While Enrolled in a Study, talks about what are different data sources, what are the anonymization methods that can be used for each, and what are the potential concerns for each. Or Section 6.6 Data Encryption, Upload, Storage, and Anonymization, talks about how Avicenna encrypts, uploads, and stores the data. If you have any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to email us.

How many questions can I have per survey?

As many as you need. There is no limitation on the number of questions you can have in your survey. But keep in mind if you plan to ask the survey periodically, having many questions can negatively impact the response rate.

How can I access data from my study?

When you login to Avicenna with your Researcher account, Avicenna will take you to the Researcher Dashboard, where you can have access to all the data collected for your study.

You may choose to export the data in different formats, or explore them directly via the dashboard. Researcher Dashboard provides a few data visualizations mostly aimed at adherence monitoring. You also have access to a few web-based data analysis tools such as Kibana.

If you need to perform more in-depth analysis, you can simply export data in your desired format.

How long participants can remain offline while in a study?

When Avicenna captures data from the participant's device, it encrypts the data and stores it on the phone as long as necessary. The data will be removed only when they're uploaded to the servers. Suppose a given participant does not have an Internet connection for an extended period. In that case, the data accumulates on their phone, and as soon as a connection is available, the data is uploaded.

There are two pitfalls to be aware of here. First, when a large amount of data is stored on the device and not uploaded yet, the chances of losing all the data because of phone hardware issues increases. The person might lose the phone or might break it, and in that case, all buffered data are lost.

Also, if a large amount of data are buffered on the device, the device might run out of space to record new data. This is particularly a problem with low-end older phones which have smaller memory.

So while the app does it's best not to lose any data, it's always good to make sure the data is received from all participants regularly.

Can I access the name and email of the participants in my study?

Yes. You can contact Avicenna Support and we will be able to provide you with this information for each participant in your study.

By default, Avicenna allocates a unique ID to each new participant and uses that to store their data in the database. This ID is also used across the website to show their data. This approach guarantees the personal information of the participants, such as their first and last name and email address, is stored separately from their study-related data. It also ensures this information is not accidentally exposed to the wrong person via the Researcher Dashboard.

If you need to access this information for your study please contact Avicenna Support and, we will can provide you with the requested information.

What happens if my participant changes her timezone?

Avicenna keeps track of the participant's timezone, and if they travel long enough that their timezone changes, Avicenna automatically reschedules all surveys and study settings based on the new timezone.

Keep in mind that the timezone change is received from the participant's smartphone or browser.

How much storage does having the Avicenna app take up on a phone?

The exact storage the Avicenna app takes varies depending on the phone type and manufacturer, but it is approximately 70 to 100 megabytes. For example, on most Android devices, the app approximately uses 65 Mb after installation.

However, like any other app, as you continue to use this app, the storage used gradually increase as well. Keep in mind that the amount of this storage consumption is based on the studies you are participating in.

Does having the Avicenna app on your phone impact your data plan limits?

The Avicenna app uses the Internet to download and upload data of your studies. As long as possible, the app uses available Wi-Fi, but if no Wi-Fi connection exist, the app falls back to using the data plan.

The amount of data that the Avicenna app will use depends on your study configuration. For example, if the study uses sensor data sources more data is used compared to studies that only contain surveys or cognitive activities.

I entered my Criteria, but the survey is not being triggered as expected. What could be wrong?

Check that your syntax is correct, the IDs are accurate, and the conditions are logical. Remember that only numerical responses can be used in Criteria.

Can I use Criteria to control the flow of surveys within a larger study?

Yes, Criteria is an excellent tool for controlling the flow of studies and directing participants through different survey paths based on their responses.