Avoid Offline  Mode in ABA Data Collection Software

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As a leading provider of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) data collection software, Motivity has made a conscious choice to not invest in offline capabilities. This decision was based on extensive research by Motivity's engineering and product team, weighing the pros and cons of this feature. Instead, we’ve focused on building a system that requires minimal internet connectivity, and is speedy and reliable even on 4G, 5G, or hotspot connections.  Simultaneously, we’re always improving and simplifying our workflow for generating a paper data sheet, and entering past/historical data.  Our goal is to keep the system consistently real-time, to support optimal clinical outcomes.

If you believe your practice requires offline mode for data collection, it is most likely due to one of these reasons:

  1. Remote areas with no cellular data: You're worried that your staff will travel to an area with NO connectively. This is rare, as the majority of the USA has some cell phone coverage, however for those rare situations where this is the case, Motivity provides an easy way to print out paper data sheets that are customized for each learner, and an easy way to enter past data once you are reconnected.
  2. Company policy: You don't allow staff to use personal devices, or connect to WiFi in clients' homes or community settings. Because Motivity does not store any PHI on client devices, it is not a HIPAA violation to allow staff to use their personal cell phones for data collection. Furthermore, Motivity uses very little data bandwidth, so it will not impact their data plans.
  3. Intermittent connectivity: You'd like peace of mind that if connection momentarily drops, data will still be saved. Motivity is built specifically to handle intermittent internet. If you temporarily lose connection, the system will let you know with a color-coded bar at the top of the screen. When you regain connection, Motivity will continue seamlessly. Data is synced to the servers immediately as it is collected, so there is no chance of losing any data when your connection drops.

Each one of these reasons is completely valid and understandable. After all, it wasn’t long ago that an ethernet cable was a must have – and we all carried one around with us, “just in case.” But thankfully, technology has come a long way in a short period of time – and our ethernet cables lay tangled in our junk drawers. Nowadays, most WiFi concerns are easy to overcome, especially when using a modern, hospital-grade technology like Motivity. 

To help you understand our decision a bit better, here are the main reasons why having offline mode with your ABA data collection software may not be a good idea:

  1. Offline mode can create possible HIPAA violations: Offline mode requires the caching of data (often containing learner/client Protected Health Information (PHI)) to an individual device. This can create significant security risks, including the potential for data breaches if not done correctly. This poses a risk to providers, as they may fall out of compliance with HIPAA regulations, which require strict protection of PHI.
  2. Offline mode can lead to data loss: Offline mode requires the locally installed app to sync with the primary database. Until syncing happens, the data exist only on the device.   During the interim period between data collection and syncing, data can be lost due to device malfunction, lack of storage space, system timeouts, and/or user error. A reliance on syncing has been a pain point for many legacy systems, whose users often experience missing, inconsistent, incorrect, or duplicated data.
  3. Offline mode can inhibit procedural fidelity: With Offline Mode, technicians often do not have access to important information, such as target lists & phase changes. They may have to rely on memory or guesswork to properly implement a program. And, if the learner meets criteria to transition to a new prompt level/phase during the session, the technician won't be able to see that.  When the session syncs to the database, retroactive (and inaccurate) transitions might occur.  Or, the data may be interpreted as “invalid,” and will not sync to the database at all.

Here are some of the pros of using Motivity’s internet-based technology:

  1. Real-time data: Motivity's web technology ensures that as data are collected anywhere in the system, they are instantly accessible by anyone else who has access. There is no need to refresh, sync, or transfer data. We’ve never lost a data point, and we have the track record to prove it.
  2. Device agnosticism: You can use Motivity on any device with a browser/internet. Our customers successfully access Motivity on iPhones, Androids, PC laptops, Macbooks, Kindle Fires, and more! It works beautifully across devices, browsers, and screen-sizes, automatically optimizing using something called "extreme responsive design."
  3. Access to all features, always: You can access all of Motivity’s features and functionality, regardless of the device you’re on.  You can do the exact same things on your desktop, your tablet, or your phone. What you see is what you get, no matter how you’re accessing the system – and we’ve completely avoided the issues that have plagued other systems by eliminating browser/app syncing.
  4. “Quick Add” interface for paper data: We’ve invested significant engineering time to build a simple, intuitive interface for entering past session data - and we’re constantly improving it! Paper data entry is seamless, and will adhere to all rules, progressions, regressions, and phase changes.

In summary, while offline mode may seem convenient for data collection in situations where internet access is limited, it can pose significant risks in terms of HIPAA compliance, data loss, and procedural fidelity.

Motivity has made a deliberate choice to prioritize real-time data collection and provide alternative solutions for entering historical data, without compromising your security or data integrity. Our web technology offers live data collection, device agnosticism, quick data entry options, and robust performance, making it a reliable choice for ABA, SLP, OT, PT and other behavior intervention providers.


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