Novartis links app, ResearchKit and smartphone sensors for multiple sclerosis study

The goal is to improve understanding of the daily challenges patients with MS can have and to uncover new potential measurements of treatment effectiveness through real-time data collection.
By Bill Siwicki
11:53 AM
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elevateMS app

A screen snap from the ElevateMS app.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals has launched a mobile research study for people with multiple sclerosis that collects data via their smartphones. This does away with clinic visits typically associated with such research studies.

The study, “Evaluation of Evidence from Smart Phone Sensors and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Participants with Multiple Sclerosis,” or ElevateMS, is designed to collect smartphone sensor-based data from physical tasks and symptoms.

The goal of the study is to improve understanding of the daily challenges patients with MS can have and to uncover new potential measurements of treatment effectiveness through real-time data collection from participants in their everyday life, Novartis said.

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The elevateMS study has been developed in partnership with Sage Bionetworks. It uses a mobile app that was built on the Apple ResearchKit platform. This emerging research platform enables study participants to contribute to research from home or on the go. At the same time, ResearchKit enables researchers to collect data in a participant’s everyday environment.

The mobile app was designed with input from patients, neurologists and others. Patients commented on the app’s user interface, what the study should measure, and how the app should track patient activity and disease symptoms.

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“As physicians, we always want to know how our patients with MS are doing on the treatments we prescribe,” said Stanley Cohan, MD, medical director of the Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center in Portland, Oregon. He also is a scientific advisor to the study. “With the elevateMS app, study participants can frequently document their symptoms in a personal health story. In turn, this data may provide researchers with new ways to look at disease progression and treatment effectiveness.”

The elevateMS study is open to U.S. participants with and without MS who can download the app from the Apple App Store and provide their mandatory informed consent. Participants have a right to leave the study anytime they wish. Using smartphones, theelevateMS app will capture participant responses to questionnaires, passive and active sensor-based movement data, and functional performance tasks completed by the participants.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com