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Maintaining confidentiality in prospective studies: anonymous repeated measurements via email (ARME) procedure


Respecting and protecting the confidentiality of data and the privacy of individuals regarding the information that they have given as participants in a research project is a cornerstone of complying with accepted research standards. However, in longitudinal studies, establishing and maintaining privacy is often challenging because of the necessity of repeated contact with participants. A novel internet-based solution is introduced here, which maintains privacy while at the same time ensures linkage of data to individual participants in a repeated measures design. With the use of the anonymous repeated measurements via email (ARME) procedure, two separate one-way communication systems are established through ad hoc email accounts and a secure study website. Strengths and limitations of the approach are discussed.

  • Scientific research
  • confidentiality/privacy

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