Study Information Sheet
“LvL UP”: a holistic lifestyle behaviour app
- What is the purpose of this research?
LvL UP is a new app that delivers a holistic lifestyle coaching intervention. We are beta-testing the app with a small group of people to explore how they engage with the app, if they develop a working relationship with the LvL UP coach, and what feedback they have on how feasible and acceptable the LvL UP intervention is. We will also assess the best recruitment channels (where people download the app from) and what kind of people are interested in using the LvL UP app intervention.
- Who can participate in the research?
- People currently living in Singapore
- Aged 21 years old or over
- English speaking
- Own and use a smartphone with Android 11 or iOS 10 (or higher)
- Data plan or WIFI
- Willing to provide informed consent
- What is the expected duration of my participation? What is the duration of this research?
You will be able to use the app for as long as you want, however the beta version of the app will expire within approximately 6 months. We will study the results of the beta-testing for approximately 3 months. You will have the opportunity to complete a short feedback survey (5 minutes) as well as participate in a feedback session via WhatsApp chat or Zoom with the research team which will take no more than 45 minutes. If you participate in a feedback session via Zoom you will also need to consent to being audio recorded.
- What is the approximate number of research participants involved?
We aim to recruit between 40 and approximately 200 participants.
- What will be done if I take part in this research study?
After downloading the LvL UP app, you will need to register your details (email is required, phone number is optional) and confirm you are eligible to participate in the beta-testing. You will need to tick a box to confirm that you have read and understood this information sheet and you agree to participate in the beta-testing research. You will be asked to confirm data sharing permissions and ‘allow notifications from LvL UP so that the app can interact with you.
You will then choose a digital lifestyle coach (chatbot) to work with. The chatbot will explain how to use the LvL UP app and will ask you to complete a short health check (questions on your current mental wellbeing, physical activity level, and dietary habits). This will help you to decide, with the chatbot, which aspect of your lifestyle you would like to focus on first – physical activity (Move More), diet (Eat Well) or mental health (Stress Less). You will then be able to explore the features of the app:
- Coaching sessions: support on physical activity, healthy eating and emotional regulation delivered on demand by the chatbot
- Life Hacks: easy to implement daily tasks that can enhance your health and wellbeing
- Breeze: gamified slow-paced breathing training to aid relaxation
- Journaling: a space to note down your thoughts, feelings and behaviours
The app will send you notifications to complete daily tasks so that you can ‘Level Up’ your health. Every time you complete a task you will earn a puzzle piece to add to your LvL UP health shield. In this beta-version of the app, there are 3 levels in total.
When you complete all the tasks, you will unlock the final session with the chatbot to complete another health check and see how much you have improved your lifestyle. Four weeks after you have finished the intervention, the team will email you to complete a final health check. You’ll have the chance to complete a short feedback survey (5 mins) as well as a one-to-one interview (45 min) with a member of the research team to share your experience using LvL UP. These surveys are optional.
- How will my privacy and the confidentiality of my research records be protected?
Your participation in this study will involve the collection of “Personal Data”. “Personal Data” refers to data about you which makes you identifiable (i) from such data or (ii) from that data and other information which an organisation has or likely to have access. This includes data such as health status, email address, phone number, activity history and any data that you have voluntarily provided to us.
Information and “Personal Data” collected for this study will be kept confidential. Your records, to the extent of the applicable laws and regulations, will not be made publicly available. Only the principal investigator and named members of the research team will have access to your personal data (e.g., names and contact information,) and this will not be released to any other person. All identifiable research data will be coded (i.e., only identified with a code number) at the earliest possible stage of the research to protect your identity. Personal data will be discarded upon completion of the study.
Non-personal but relevant application data will also be collected. For instance, audio-recordings of breathing and short voice commands through our “Breeze” feature, physical activity data collected from GoogleFit and Apple HealthKit (if you grant the permission to access), smartphone sensor data (including GPS, accelerometer, time, proximity, wi-fi, Bluetooth, ambient light, battery status, screen events, audio, call/SMS logs, ringer status), app usage data generated when you are actively using the app, and any feedback you provide us. Please note that GPS, audio, call/SMS logs and app usage data will be de-identified. This means we do not record raw data that could be used to identify you:
- We do not record raw audio. We extract features from the audio data to detect noise levels and if there is conversation around you (i.e., people talking). Actual audio is not stored or transmitted.
- For call/SMS logs we hash (hashing is a one-way function that obscures plain text into a unique text of random characters. It is generally used to conceal plain text, since the actual plain text cannot be obtained once it is hashed) the sender/receiver’s number, so it is unique but unidentifiable. We do not collect the contents of any text messages, just the number of characters in each message.
- For app usage information we do not collect the name of the application you are using, just a hash of the app name and the category of app, e.g., social media, entertainment, or communication.
- For GPS, while the app collects location data through GPS, the raw GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) will not leave your phone. The app will collect and store the raw coordinates on the device until the last day of the intervention. On the last day, the app will transform the GPS coordinates from an absolute to a relative coordinate system and upload it to our server. This way we will not know what your real location is, but it preserves the trajectories for us to extract mobility and distance-related features, thus maintaining your privacy.
All data collected will be kept in accordance with the FHT Data Management Policy which aligns with thePersonal Data Protection Act 2012. Research data used in any publication will be kept for a minimum of 10 years before being discarded. In the event of any publication regarding this study, your identity will remain confidential. Research arising in the future, based on your “Personal Data”, will be subject to review by the relevant institutional review board.
Partner research institutions including the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) will be granted direct access to this information to check study procedures and data, without making any of your information public. By signing the Informed Consent Form, you are authorising (i) the collection, access to, use and storage of your “Personal Data”, and (ii) the disclosure to authorised partner institutions and relevant third parties.
- What are the possible discomforts and risks for participants?
We do not anticipate any discomfort or risk during this project. You are free to choose how to progress with the intervention and there is no requirement to do anything you are not comfortable with. You should note that the chatbot is a machine that has been programmed by the research team using scientific evidence, but it is not designed to diagnose any conditions and the results of any ‘health assessments’ are for guidance only.
- What is the compensation for any injury?
We do not expect you to be injured during this project. If you follow the directions of the PI in charge of this research study and you are injured, the NUS will pay the medical expenses for the treatment of that injury. By giving your consent, you will not waive any of your legal rights or release the parties involved in this study from liability for negligence.
- Will there be reimbursement for participation?
If you complete the short feedback survey you will receive a voucher to the value of S$5.00 as a thank you for your time and contribution. If you take part in a further interview with the research team to provide feedback on your experience you will receive a voucher for a reputable retailer to the value of S$20.00 as a thank you for your time and contribution.
- What are the possible benefits to me and to others?
The information you provide us will help us refine and improve the LvLUP app and intervention.
- Can I refuse to participate in this research?
Yes, you can. Your decision to participate in this research study is voluntary and completely up to you. You can also withdraw from the research at any time without giving any reasons, by informing the principal investigator. Any data we collected from you will be discarded.
- Principal Investigator and co-investigator(s):
- Falk Mueller-Riemenschneider; National University of Singapore; +65 6601 3122
- Lorainne Tudor Car, Nanyang Technological University Singapore +65 9155 0659
- Tobias Kowatsch; ETH Zurich
- Jacqueline Mair; Singapore-ETH Centre
- Alicia Salamanca; Singapore ETH-Centre
- Aishah Alattas; Singapore ETH-Centre
- Roman Keller; Singapore ETH-Centre
- Chang Siang Lim; Singapore ETH-Centre
- Oscar Castro; Singapore ETH-Centre
- Ahmad Ishqi Jabir, Nanyang Technological University
- Xiaowen Lin, Nanyang Technological University
- Shenglin Zheng, National University of Singapore
- Bea Frese, University of St. Gallen
- Whom should I call if I have any questions or problems?
For all enquiries or research-related matters, please contact the research team at [email protected] in the first instance. You may also contact:
- Dr Jacqueline Mair at email [email protected] or
- Dr Alicia Salamanca at email [email protected]
In the event of complaints or research-related injuries, please contact the Principal Investigators:
- Prof Falk Mueller-Riemenschneider at +65 6601 3122 / email [email protected] and
- Prof Lorainne Tudor-Car at email [email protected]
For an independent opinion specifically regarding the rights and welfare of research participants, you may contact a staff member of:
The National University of Singapore Institutional Review Board at telephone (+65) 6516 1234 [Mondays to Thursdays from 8.30am to 6pm, and Fridays from 8.30am to 5.30pm, except public holidays] or email at [email protected].
NTU-Institutional Review Board, Research Integrity and Ethics Office, 50 Nanyang Avenue, North Spine, NS4-05-92A, Singapore 639798 or email at [email protected]
The study has been reviewed by the National University of Singapore Institutional Review Board and the ETH Zurich Ethics Commission for ethics approval. If you want an independent opinion to discuss problems and questions, obtain information and offer inputs on your rights as a research subject, you may contact the NHG Domain Specific Review Board Secretariat at 6471-3266. You can also find more information about participating in clinical research, the NHG Domain Specific Review Board and its review processes at www.research.nhg.com.sg.
I hereby acknowledge that:
- I agree to take part in the above research.
- I have read and understand the information sheet that explains the use of my data in this research, and I agree to donate my data for research purposes.
- I can withdraw from the research at any point of time by informing the Principal Investigator and all my data will be discarded.
- I will not have any financial benefits that result from the commercial development of this research.
[For those participating in follow-up interviews only]
- Should I choose to participate in a Zoom interview with the research team, I agree to the audio-recording of my participation. Should I choose to participate in a Whatsapp chat interview with the research team, I agree to the chat conversation being downloaded for analysis purposes. I understand that although my name will be not associated with the audio-recordings or chat transcript used in publication/presentation, I may still be identified.