Once you have created surveys and notifications, you will need to determine the cadence at which they will be delivered to participants. Using schedules, you can define the timing and frequency for sending surveys and notifications, as well as the timing for closing surveys and updating custom fields.
Table of Contents:
- Creating a Schedule
- Viewing Schedules
- Editing or Deleting a Schedule
- Building a Schedule: Example
Creating a Schedule
Schedules have two main components: triggers and actions. Triggers define when an action occurs and the participants it affects. Actions are the events that occur when a trigger’s criteria is met. For example, you may want to send a survey immediately upon enrollment to all participants. In this example, the trigger is the enrollment event for each participant, and the action is sending the survey.
To get started creating a schedule, navigate to your Project’s “Schedules” tab and click “Add a Schedule."
Creating Schedule Triggers
Once you've clicked "Add a Schedule," you will be prompted to "Choose a Schedule Type." The following scheduling types each offer different configuration options and behaviors, and are outlined further below.
The “On Enrollment” schedule type triggers immediately after a participant enrolls in your project. Use this schedule type to configure the participant’s initial experience in the study.
In the example below, the schedule is set to send the Baseline survey and WelcomeMessage notification immediately upon enrollment.
On Entering a Segment
The “On Entering a Segment” schedule type triggers whenever a participant satisfies the logic criteria defined by a previously created segment. For example, you may wish to send device instructions to all participants that have a device.
If you have not created a segment, you will not see this schedule type option.
In the example below, when a participant first satisfies the criteria for the “Set Up Device” segment, they are sent the DeviceTroubleshooting survey, receive the DeviceSetupCongratulations notification, and the DeviceSetupDate custom field is populated with today’s date.
When configuring this schedule type, you must select a Segment.
Based on Participant Events
Use the “Based On Participant Events” schedule type to schedule actions relative to when the participant enrolled, or relative to one of your date-based custom fields, if applicable. Use this schedule type during the study participation phase, when participants may reach milestones at different times.
If “Based on Participant Events” is selected, you must designate for “Start Delivery”:
- The benchmark Participant Event (enrollment or date-based custom field)
- The trigger timing relative to the benchmark
- This schedule type supports repeated event triggers on a periodic basis.
- For personalized trigger times for each participant, please utilize MyDataHelps Designer’s configuration team by contacting us.
Participants who have an empty or null value for the selected Participant Event are not affected by this type of trigger.
In the example below, starting at 7:00 AM (participant's local time), 2 weeks after their DeviceSetupDate, participants who set up their devices can no longer access the DeviceTroubleshooting survey.
Setting a trigger to run 1 day after Enrollment and repeat every 1 day, will create a schedule that will run every day.
Based on a Specific Date
Use the “Based On a Specific Date” schedule type to schedule your actions based on a specific date. Use this schedule type for study milestones based on calendar day.
For this schedule type, you must designate the specific date the action will occur. This schedule type supports repeated event triggers on a periodic basis.
In the example below, all participants will receive a HolidayEncouragement Notification on 12/23/2021 at 8:00AM in their time zone. However, you could select a standard time zone, say if you wanted participants in all geographic locations to have scheduled events occur at the same moment.
Additional Trigger Specifications
Advanced trigger options allow you to categorize triggers, further specify affected participants, and adjust action timing.
In the “Category” section of the trigger specification window, you can assign a previously specified category or create a new category. Categories allow you to organize schedules into similar groups when viewing your schedules.
Additionally, you can further specify the participants affected by your schedule using the "Segment" section or "Filter Participants" section.
- Segment selection: For the “Based on Participant Events” or “On Specific Date” schedule types, you can limit the scope of the trigger to a previously defined segment.
- Participant Filtering: For all schedule types, under the “Filter” menu, you can define custom participant groups through the filtering tool. Use this when previously defined segments are not sufficient.
Configuring Trigger Actions
The final step in configuring the schedule is determining which action(s) to take based on the triggers previously defined. The four actions for triggers are:
Add Survey to Deliver
Use the “Add Survey To Deliver” action to deliver a published survey to a participant.
If participants already have the selected survey, the existing survey will be closed and a new one will be delivered. This has no effect on the participant experience, but is noticeable in the data export.
Add Notification to Send
Use the “Add Notification To Send” action to send a push notification, SMS message, or email to the affected participants. Select from notifications that are defined and published in the notification library.
There may be instances where you need to send an SMS notification to multiple phone numbers, or an email notification to multiple email addresses. To accomplish this, first you need to create custom fields with a data type of phone or email. Once the custom fields are defined, you can add the notification under the schedule actions as many times as necessary and select which custom fields to use.
Add Survey to Close
Use the “Add Survey To Close” action to set the status of pending surveys to either “Complete” or “Closed.” The selected survey will no longer be available for affected participants to complete.
Any survey tasks with status “Complete” or “Closed” at scheduled time will be unaffected by this action. To better understand the different survey statuses, visit the Viewing and Closing Survey Tasks article.
Add Custom Field to Update
Use the “Add Custom Field to Update” category to populate a previously defined custom field with a specific value that matches the custom field data type.
For Date and Timestamp custom fields, you can select to populate the custom field with the current date/time.
Alternatively, you can also set the custom field to a random value from a specified list. For example, you could randomly assign each participant to a cohort upon enrollment. To specify the list, enter each item in the text box and click the "+" button.
Only Text custom fields can be populated with a random value from a list.
You can view your schedules using the following two views:
- Categorical View
- Tabular View
To toggle between the views, use the view type buttons on the top left of the “Schedules tab.” Both views can be filtered by schedule category, trigger segment, and action category.
Using the Categorical View
The categorical view outlines schedules in a list form. It displays the trigger logic and actions for each schedule. Use the categorial tabs on the left side of the screen to filter the list of schedules based on your pre-defined categories.
Using the Tabular View
The tabular view outlines schedules in a “timeline” format. Schedules are listed in the order created. Use this view to see how an action repeats across different schedules.
Editing or Deleting a Schedule
To edit a schedule, select the edit button on the schedule screen.
Once the schedule editor appears, you can update the schedule settings. Click "Save" in the bottom right corner when you are done with your changes. Alternatively, if you wish to delete a schedule, click "Delete" in the bottom left corner of the editing window.
You cannot change the type of schedule once it's created (e.g., from On Enrollment to Based on Participant Events). Create a new schedule with the desired type and delete the old one.
Building a Schedule: Example
When preparing to build your schedules, you will want to answer the following questions.
- At what point in time will surveys be delivered? Is this relative to enrollment? A Date-based custom field? A previous survey response?
- When should the notification be sent relative to when the surveys are sent?
- What is the acceptable timeframe for completion of the survey?
- What frequency of the notifications is effective and respectful?
- How long ago was the survey completed if you are sending the notification now?
- What type of notifications do you want to send (push, SMS, email)?
- How is the participant interacting with the study? Are they using the MyDataHelps App or Web?
- At the time of notification delivery, are you guaranteed to have the participants’ email? Phone number?
By default, on registration, participants are only required to specify either phone or email.
In this scenario, we will create a schedule that sends a reminder notification to all participants who have completed the “Baseline” survey more than 3 days ago and have not yet completed the “Week 1” survey. We will assume that the “Baseline” survey is sent on enrollment.
To begin, we will create a schedule Based on Participant Events, where the event is set to Enrollment. We will set the trigger logic to run 1 day after Enrollment and repeat every 1 day so that all applicable participants will receive this notification.
If you set the trigger logic to run 0 days after Enrollment and the participant enrolls after the scheduled Time of Day, the schedule will not trigger and no actions will be taken!
Next, you will need to use the "Filter Participants" section to identify participants that have completed the "Baseline" survey more than 3 days ago and have not yet completed the "Week 1" survey.
Finally, configure the Actions section to send the "SurveyReminder" push notification and click Save.