Comparison of an interactive voice response system and smartphone application in the identification of gout flares

Nada Elmagboul, Brian W. Coburn, Jeffrey Foster, Amy Mudano, Joshua Melnick, Debra Bergman, Shuo Yang, David Redden, Lang Chen, Cooper Filby, Jeffrey R. Curtis, Ted R. Mikuls, Kenneth G. Saag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the feasibility, preference, and satisfaction of an interactive voice response (IVR) system versus a customized smartphone application (StudyBuddy) to capture gout flares Methods: In this 24-week prospective, randomized, crossover, open-label pilot study, 44 gout patients were randomized to IVR vs. StudyBuddy and were crossed over to the other technology after 12 weeks. Flares were reported via weekly (and later daily) scheduled StudyBuddy or IVR queries. Feasibility was ascertained via response rate to scheduled queries. At 12 and 24 weeks, participants completed preference/satisfaction surveys. Preference and satisfaction were assessed using dichotomous or ordinal questions. Sensitivity was assessed by the frequency of flare reporting with each approach. Results: Thirty-eight of 44 participants completed the study. Among completers, feasibility was similar for IVR (81%) and StudyBuddy (80%). Conversely, most (74%) preferred StudyBuddy. Measures of satisfaction (ease of use, preference over in-person clinic visits, and willingness for future use) were similar between the IVR and StudyBuddy; however, more participants deemed the StudyBuddy as convenient (95% vs. 73%, P = 0.01) and less disruptive (97% vs. 82%, P = 0.03). Although the per patient number of weeks in flare was not significantly different (mean 3.4 vs. 2.6 weeks/patient, P = 0.15), the StudyBuddy captured more of the total flare weeks (35%) than IVR (27%, P = 0.02). Conclusion: A smartphone application and IVR demonstrated similar feasibility but overall sensitivity to capture gout flares and participant preference were greater for the smartphone application. Participant preference for the smartphone application appeared to relate to perceptions of greater convenience and lower disruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 29 2019


  • Gout flares
  • Interactive voice response system
  • Smartphone application

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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