Injury Research and Policy RIO™ :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

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RIO™: Reporting Information Online

What is RIO™?

RIO™ (Reporting Information Online) is an internet-based surveillance software developed under the direction of Dr. Dawn Comstock by Research Information Services, the information technology support service for The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. This powerful yet flexible surveillance software is the centerpiece of Dr. Comstock’s injury surveillance research.

RIO™ History

The first version of the RIO™ software was developed in 2004 to provide Dr. Comstock with a time and cost effective source for a user friendly, easy to navigate, easy to access internet-based data collection tool that could be used to conduct injury surveillance research in large, geographically dispersed populations of reporters that were submitting large amounts of data at consistent intervals over a long study period. RIO™ is a real-time data collection tool that allows reporters 24/7 access to input, revise and update data reports either at the designated reporting time (i.e., weekly, etc.) or retrospectively.

Dr. Comstock has utilized the RIO™ software to conduct multiple injury surveillance studies in large nationally dispersed study samples including:

  • High school sports-related injuries using certified athletic trainers as reporters
  • Injuries and illnesses among campers and staff members at summer camps using a variety of reporters (camp physician, nurse, wilderness first aid provider, director, etc.)
  • High school rugby-related injuries using a variety of reporters (coach, team athletic trainer, team parent, etc)
  • Women’s professional football-related injuries using team physicians or athletic trainers as reporters

Data captured in these studies are used to identify the rates, patterns and trends in adverse events among physically active participants of such activities in order to drive the development of evidence-based, targeted interventions to improve the health and safety of these populations by lowering the number and/or severity of adverse events such as injuries and illnesses.

Strengths of the RIO™ Software

The RIO™ software is extremely well suited to prospective surveillance studies. It allows multiple administrations of the same questionnaire over long periods of time (e.g., once a week throughout the academic year, once a week during a summer camp session, etc.) in order to obtain both exposure data (e.g., number of athletic exposures, number of camper-days, etc.) and outcome data (e.g., number of injuries and detailed information about each injury, etc.) from large, geographically dispersed study populations.

Specific strengths of the RIO™ software include:

  • No time limitations (e.g., studies can run for a virtually unlimited length of time)
  • No limit on the number of study subjects reporting data
  • No geographic limitations on the location of the study subjects reporting data
  • No limit on the type of study sample (e.g., convenience sample, random sample, cohort, etc.)
  • Very user friendly/easy to use thus decreased time burden for training and for data reporting
  • No limit on the type of questions on a survey (e.g., true/false, multiple choice, choose all that apply, open ended, etc.)
  • No limit on the number of variables/on the number of questions on a survey
  • Skip patterns are seamlessly incorporated into the on-line system reducing confusion and time burden for reporters with no limitation to the number of skip patterns
  • Reporters have access to the study website 24/7 for data reporting, can retrospectively report and can update any previously reported data which decreases loss to follow-up and improves data quality
  • Researchers have access to data 24/7 and thus can monitor studies closely which improves data quality
  • Automatic system audits allow researchers to monitor study subjects’ compliance with methodology which improves data quality
  • Automatic reminder e-mails can be sent to study subjects to improve compliance with study methodology, which improves data quality
  • The internet-based tool is visually appealing (e.g., colors, formatting, logos, etc can all be changed to create any “look” a study administrator wants)
  • The internet-based tool is very flexible allowing researchers to add/revise/delete survey questions during studies if needed without stopping the study
  • The study websites can be accessed anywhere broadband web access is available

Assistance for Other Researchers

Over the course of multiple studies using the RIO™ software, Dr. Comstock and her staff have developed an expertise with internet-based surveillance studies. The knowledge gained over the course of several years of injury epidemiology research using this software may assist other researchers interested in using the RIO™ software (or other internet-based tools). Those interested in using the RIO™ software or in gaining assistance with study design, creating survey tools, implementing and maintaining large surveillance studies, analyzing and interpreting surveillance data or using surveillance data to develop preventive interventions/make policy recommendations to improve health outcomes and reduce risk in physically active populations can contact Dr. Comstock at or (614) 355-5850.

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000