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Novartis MS Study Allows for Smartphone Data Collection

August 24, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Pharmaceutical company Novartis has announced the launch of a mobile research study for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that collects data via their smartphone, without the need for clinic visits.

The study, “Evaluation of Evidence from Smart Phone Sensors and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Participants with Multiple Sclerosis,” is designed to collect sensor-based data from physical tasks and symptoms. It aims 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, according to a press release from Novartis.

The study, which was developed in partnership with Sage Bionetworks, uses a mobile application that was built on the Apple ResearchKit platform. The digital smartphone research platform allows study participants to contribute to research from home or on the go. At the same time, it enables researchers to collect data in the participant's everyday environment.

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

"As physicians, we always want to know how our patients with MS are doing on the treatments we prescribe," Stanley Cohan, M.D., Ph.D., medical director, Providence Multiple Sclerosis Center, Portland, Oregon. "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," added Cohan, who serves as a scientific advisor to the study.

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