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Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i)

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Center for Mobile Apps Research Resources & Services (CMARRS)


The Center for Mobile Applications Research Resources & Services or CMARRS commenced as a Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Service-Initiated Project (SIP) in the summer of 2018 with two aims that serve to fulfill a long-term objective. The first is to expand existing infrastructure by building a new platform to support Veterans Affairs (VA) mobile health (mHealth) research that is more scalable, efficient, and user-centric. The second is to provide app development expertise and methods to VA investigators seeking to use mobile technologies in their research.

The long-term objective of CMARRS is to create an enduring mHealth apps research resources center that would maintain and provide a mobile apps research platform and the materials and support needed to design and deploy mobile methodologies for VA research purposes.

Sponsors & Partners

Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D)

The Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) is an integral part of VA’s quest for innovative solutions to today’s healthcare challenges. HSR&D supports research that encompasses all aspects of VA healthcare, focusing on patient care, cost, and quality. The main mission of HSR&D research is to identify, evaluate, and rapidly implement evidence-based strategies that improve the quality and safety of care delivered to Veterans.

Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i)

The mission of VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i) is to produce health services research that informs how VHA operational partners pursue healthcare through better access, higher quality, and wiser use of resources. Ci2i’s focused areas are, fostering high value mental health care, fostering high value medical specialty care, and advancing value-oriented health services research methods.

National Center for PTSD

The mission of the National Center for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD, through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.

The National Center has emerged as the world's leading research and educational center of excellence on PTSD. Its vision is to be the foremost leader in information on PTSD and trauma; information generated internally through its extensive research program, and information synthesized from published scientific research and collective clinical experience that is efficiently disseminated to the field.

The Center is organized to facilitate rapid translation of science into practice, ensuring that the latest research findings inform clinical care; and translation of practice into science, and ensuring that questions raised by clinical challenges are addressed using rigorous experimental protocols.

By drawing on the specific expertise vested at each separate division (behavioral, neuroscientific, etc.), the National Center provides a unique infrastructure within which to implement multidisciplinary initiatives regarding the etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD.

CMARRS Resources & Services 


The VA mPRO (mobile Patient-Reported Outcomes) dashboard allows VA researchers to select and create assessments and assign them to participants using fully deidentified invite codes. Participants then use their invite codes to sign into the mPRO mobile app. mPRO includes native assessments (e.g., PCL5, PHQ9, GAD7) as well as functionality to allow researchers to create their own assessments and feedback for each study or multiple studies at once.

The VA mPRO app is available for iOS and Android.

mPRO Dashboard

In the Dashboard, mPRO data are sortable by user, date, study name, study status, study duration, assessment type, assess- ment status, assessment score/answers, completion rate, and investigator and are easily downloaded for merging with identifiable study data and analyses.

Find instructional videos on the mPRO YouTube Channel.

Information for mHealth and Technology Research in VA

General Web Guidance

VA Directive 6102 Internet and Intranet Services Establishes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) minimum internet and intranet services policies, procedures, and guidelines. This directive also applies to mobile initiatives.

VA Directive 6102

VA Handbook 6102

Learn more

Web-Based Survey Research 

Available only behind the VA firewall, VA REDCap is a free, secure web app that facilitates the collection and entry of research data using Electronic Data Capture (EDC). Researchers can email participants a link from VA REDCap which they can open and fill using a computer or mobile device connected to the VA network. For non-VA REDCap access, find out if your institutional partner has a REDCap license.



Guidance on Email & Text Messaging for Recruiting/Communicating with VA Research Subjects

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VA Qualtrics 

VHA ORD Qualtrics PortalFrom this site, users can submit a request for Qualtrics accounts, read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), access Qualtrics Support and Training Material and contact the ORD Qualtrics Team.

Online Survey Research (Outside VA Firewall)

VA has approval for two commercial systems outside the VA firewall for the express purpose of collecting patient generated data (surveys, questionnaires, etc.) via web-based forms. Both Qualtrics and Westat can be contracted for using non-OIT funding (research funding).


Learn more 

Westat is approved for FISMA high data and Qualtrics is approved for FISMA moderate data, so you can select the services, price point and security level for your study.


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VA Mobile Apps

In the VA App Store you will find access to dozens of apps, including those created specifically for Veterans and their Health Care Professionals.

VA App Store

Health Care Professionals apps allow providers to record information into CPRS on the go, coordinate with other VA staff, and conveniently connect with patients. Veterans apps help patients manage their care and stay in touch with their VA team.

Learn more 

Text Messaging

The VA’s Annie mobile app is a Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging capability that promotes self-care for those enrolled within VA. When a provider signs a Veteran up for Annie, he will receive automated messages prompting him to track his own health. The patient replies to messages so that Annie can keep him informed of his progress. Annie can also send messages from your local VA facility.

Veterans can use Annie if they have a cell phone with texting. If they have a smartphone, they can use the phone’s texting feature or the App. Annie can also be used on an internet-connected computer or tablet.

Annie App for Text Messaging with Veterans

Guidance on Email & Text Messaging for Recruiting/Communicating with VA Research Subjects

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The VA Mobile Health Provider Program is bringing mobile technology to VA medical centers across the nation. Since being launched in 2014, VA has issued tablets to over 12,000 care team members at 40+ sites in an effort to understand how devices can enhance workflows across the care spectrum.

Mobile Health Provider Program

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Descriptions of measures for mHealth app usability, user proficiency, and user satisfaction, as well as reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance.

Information on usability methods, templates & documents, and guidelines; recruiting, User Experience (UX), content strategy, project management, and visual design.

Learn more

mHealth Journals

Top journals in mHealth and health technology, with information on Impact Factor, publication fees, ISSN, and indexing (e.g., PubMed, PsycINFO).

Download list

IRB Language

Download IRB language for mPRO and web-based surveys (e.g., Qualtrics, REDCap).

ORD Human Research