Precision START

SmartLab progression image


Who we are: MU SSON Precision Smart Technologies and Applications for Rapid Translation (START) Laboratory. Established in fall 2019, the Precision START lab is housed in the MU SSON. Conceptualized and directed by Dr. Blaine Reeder, member of both the SSON and Bioinformatics faculty.

The Precision START lab engages graduate students and junior faculty from nursing and other disciplines for applied research training experiences.

What we do:  The Precision START lab was created to overcome common barriers that prevent timely use of consumer-grade “smart technologies” (e.g. mobile and wearable devices, software and interactive web-design, smart home sensors, apps and other information resources) in translational research to support health behavior change and improve individual and population outcomes.

Why we do it: There is massive diversity of devices and data formats, variable maturity and availability of devices, and rapid technology change due to short industry product release cycles. The Precision START lab implements a stepwise, systematic evaluation methodology based on an informatics study typology to rapidly generate evidence of smart technology function and usability.

The Precision START methodology relies on iterations using small samples that rapidly move from within-team lab studies to participant lab studies to participant field studies, using research-grade devices as comparison controls for technical function.

Each iteration draws on mixed methods, including heuristic evaluations, a smart wearable device evaluation framework, scenario-based testing, cognitive walk-throughs, think-aloud protocols, interviews, focus groups and the System Usability Scale (SUS) to identify user perceptions, technology acceptability, implementation factors and device fitness for purpose.