Evaluation of a web-based approach to data collection in molecular environmental epidemiological investigations of adverse pregnancy outcomes

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Project Period: 
Collaborating Institution(s): 
Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited Disorders
UI Reproductive Molecular Epidemiology Research and Education Program
Project Investigator(s): 
Paul Romitti, Kristin Caspers, UI Dept. of Epidemiology
Gabriele Ludewig, UI Dept. of Occupational and Environmental Health
Michael Wichman, State Hygienic Laboratory
Peter Weyer, CHEEC

Wireless telephone use, caller ID, and call blocking pose challenges to telephone-based data collection for epidemiological studies; smartphones, tablets, and increased access to the internet have removed both time and place demands of home-based communications. Telephone-based data collection in Iowa for the NBDPS has indicated a steady decline in participation rates. This case-control study will evaluate a web-based approach for molecular environmental epidemiological studies of adverse pregnancy outcomes. 240 infants with selected birth defects and 240 infants without defects will be selected and equally assigned to a web-based or a telephone-based group. They will be administered a questionnaire for maternal environmental exposures; mothers in the web-based group will electronically sign a consent form to use residual newborn bloodspots for biomonitoring; for the telephone-based group, the U.S. Postal Service will be used for hand-signed informed consents. Participation rates, sample representativeness, exposure reporting, and costs between the web-based and telephone-based groups will be compared. Investigators hypothesize that improved participation rates will be seen in the web-based group, which will permit increased generalization of study results and increased statistical power for studies.