Alert! Alert! Alert!
In this new age of “always on” technology and communication, it seems like something is always vying for our attention. We get so may alerts. Weather alerts, traffic alerts, health alerts, vehicle recall alerts, food safety alerts. I could go on and on. Our first tendency might be to get a little irritated about all of these alerts, as they interrupt our daily flow and can produce anxiety. But then again, think of why we are receiving the alerts in the first place. They are there for our benefit—the safety and security of ourselves, our family and our neighbors. By getting that important information out to us quickly, we can act immediately and take the necessary steps to either be prepared or be protected.
When we use alerts in the context of handling personal data, the benefits are the same. We are vigilant, looking out for the safety and security of the data collected on our panelists. The safety and security of data is a major concern for many countries around the world. That is why regulations such as the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have been put in place. They help to ensure that personal data is being handled properly.
Stay alert to panelist data changes
Having the ability to receive alerts on the system used to store and/or collect data can be an essential tool. An alert system can perform two kinds of notifications:
- Inform proper personnel of changes that have been made in the data
- Alert personnel of the need to make changes to the data.
Alerts can help you to make necessary changes in an expedited time frame, thus complying with on-going regulations.
What are some examples of alerts that can prove beneficial?
Let’s take a look at a few instances where alerts would provide helpful information.
Example: A panelist wants to be removed from the database.
Let’s say a request comes in from a panelist who no longer wishes to receive invitations to participate in studies, screeners or research. The request can come from the panelist portal, from the invitation or from within the questionnaire. Whatever the source, an alert can be sent to the proper personnel to make sure that the panelist is removed. By receiving an alert, the removal can be handled quickly, therefore limiting the chances of the panelist becoming frustrated by receiving additional notifications.
Example: A panelist is not able to participate in research for a period of time (extended travel, expectant mothers, temporary health conditions, etc.).
Sometimes a panelist needs a little time off. They can inform you of the start date for the period of non-participation. During that interval, the panelist record can be set to inactive. They will no longer receive notifications of available research studies. An alert can be created for the proper internal personnel at the resume date so the panelist record can now be set to active status. At this time, they would again get notificatons to participate in any available research.
Example: While filling out a questionnaire or screener, the panelist indicates that they would like to be contacted.
Companies always want to know if their consumers are happy. To ensure that any perceived issues are handled quickly, a question can be added to a questionnaire or screener asking the panelist if they would like to be contacted. Additional information can also be collected as to the nature of why they would like to be contacted. Once this information is collected, an alert can be generated that informs the proper internal personnel of not only the request to be contacted but also the reason. The alert allows companies to respond to any issues or requests for contact and handle them without any hesitation.
These are just a few possible suggestions showing how alerts could be a great benefit. Having the ability to create custom alerts based on the particular operations of your organization can provide innumerable benefits to the company, department and panel members. The ARCS system, for example, allows you to define custom alerts that match your organizational needs. Contact one of our ARCS specialists today to discuss how to setup specific data alerts.
Keep in mind that alerts should be used judiciously, only when something really calls for immediate attention and action. When used for truly critical notifications, alerts will help your organization to stay in compliance with ever-changing governmental regulations.