Hi everyone! I hope that the weather is treating you well, whatever that may mean!
By way of introduction, my name is Dr. Rikesh Patel (Rik). I am one of the Clinical Researchers working on the Cloudy project. I obtained a degree in medicine from the University of Leicester in 2013. From there, I was appointed as an Academic Foundation Doctor in Birmingham, where I became involved in research work investigating the mechanisms underpinning persistent joint inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis. I recently gained a position as an Academic Clinical Fellow at the University of Manchester, where I will commence specialist training in Rheumatology. It was here that I was first introduced to the Cloudy team and became actively involved in the study.
Within Cloudy, I am involved in interpreting and analysing the data that our participants input regularly. Most of the data that is submitted via the Umotif app is turned into individual numbers on a large Excel spreadsheet. At first glance this can appear daunting! However, with the help of some smart computer software and some even smarter statisticians, we are able to turn these numbers into meaningful results that allow us to start to see any associations between the weather and your pain. Interestingly, the more data we have, the more valid our results will be. So, if you're a participant, please continue using the app regularly, and if you're thinking of joining, please do!
In addition to analysing data, I also present Cloudy's findings to colleagues and other interested parties at various events and conferences. Because of the novel approach used in our study, there has been lots of interest from the research community. As such, I will be presenting the methodology for recruitment into the study at a conference in Rheumatology (EULAR) this coming June. Here I am going to highlight our successes using smartphone technology to recruit and record data in real time from participants. I will also present data describing recruitment rates using this approach. Presenting our findings to other researchers and clinicians will not only help them to better understand the relationship between weather and chronic pain, but will also potentially pave the way for others to design and implement future research studies using modern technology to help meet their goals.