New patient-centred study will harvest data via smartphones

Advances

Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 8 April 2015

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An innovative new iPhone app developed for patient-centred study could engage as many as 20,000 people with Parkinson’s

A study of ‘symptom variation’ in Parkinson’s will use newly available open software from Apple to gather data “more frequently and more accurately” from potentially thousands of participants – via their smartphones.

Parkinson ‘mPower’ is a patient-centred study sponsored by Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit biomedical research organisation, using a Parkinson’s specific app developed in partnership with experts at two UK universities.

The mPower app harnesses the new ResearchKit software framework announced last month by Apple. This enables participants to easily complete tasks or submit surveys from their smartphone and delivers a simple way to present participants with an interactive informed consent process, according to the developers.

Stephen Friend MD PhD, president of Sage Bionetworks and mPower principal investigator, said: “We need more data. In a traditional clinical study you’d be thrilled to find 500 research ‘subjects.’ But imagine what is possible when you can quickly and reliably activate 20,000 research ‘partners’.”

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