Can an iPhone transform the way we monitor and improve patient health?

Since 2014, we’ve been transforming the way we do research using digital technologies and channels to improve the efficiency of our research, and to improve patient care.

Wearable tech, remote biosensors and mobile health tools are enabling scientists to access highly detailed and accurate data relating to a patient’s physiology and behaviour. Analysis of this information has the potential to improve our understanding of a disease or a patient’s response to medication.

We’ve been conducting clinical studies with biosensors and mobile devices for some time – monitoring activity and vital signs in patients, and collecting patient feedback, in order to improve the quality of data we use to help our decision making in the development of new medicines.

The latest of these is the Patient Rheumatoid Arthritis Data from the Real World (PARADE) study in the United  States, which uses a downloadable iPhone application built by GSK using Apple’s ResearchKit.  ResearchKit is a software framework designed specifically for medical research that helps doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using an iPhone.

We are the first in our industry to use Apple’s ResearchKit as part of our research, this time looking at the impact a patient’s disease has on their day-to-day life. We’re not testing a medicine right now. The medicines development process starts with learning from real patients by including their insights and health goals into our research.  That’s exactly the information we hope to gather about rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating disease which can impact patients’ lives at many levels.

The PARADE study will use the iPhone app to conduct surveys and iPhone sensors to collect and track common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: joint pain, fatigue, and mood. It will also track activity and quality of life measures for 300 patients over a three-month period. 

The app, powered by Medidata and POSSIBLE Mobile, creates a secure environment for patient data. We will collect and analyze this data to see if we can design studies to help us develop medicines more effectively. Patients using the PARADE app have access to a dashboard containing their personal data in the study, which they’ll also be able to share with their healthcare providers to support conversations about treatment plans.

Our goal is to engage with patients in a new way that integrates the research into their daily lives versus the traditional model that requires patients to travel to their doctors’ offices. By making research as easy and accessible as possible for patients, we have the potential to disrupt the model for how we conduct research in the future and ultimately improve patient health.

Rob DiCicco, Vice President, Clinical Innovation, GSK.

 

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