Swiss pharma company launches mobile app to track eye disease progression

mobile app to track eye disease progression

FocalView, a mobile app to track eye disease progression

FocalView app launched by Novartis uses Apple’s ResearchKit to collect data from consenting patients that participate in the clinical trial of eye diseases.

To accurately monitor patient progress in traditional ophthalmic clinical trials is tedious for the patients and the researchers alike. The participants have to regularly visit the clinic for enabling the researchers to monitor their progress failing which the researchers cannot track disease activity accurately.

Swiss Drugmaker Novartis has tried to find a solution to this problem by using digital technology to develop the FocalView app. The app, now available on iTunes store in the US, can be installed after the participants’ consent to contribute to the research data.

It will enable the scientists to gather more volume of real-time patient data, thus, making the clinical trials more flexible and at the same time empowering users to gain frequent feedback on their progress.

The patients with hindered mobility will benefit the most from the use of FocalView app. At the same time, this use of digital technology will save time and money in research trials.

Dr. Mark Bullimore, Medical Advisor for the creation of FocalView and Dean of the Southern California College of Optometry, Marshall B. Ketchum University said, “Because patients with eye diseases are often not as mobile, FocalView has the potential to offer tremendous benefit for the ophthalmic community and for researchers looking to develop better treatments for these patients.”

He said that collating validated patient-reported outcomes in clinical trial research is no longer a nice-to-have.

This kind of data is fast becoming a critical element of research and development, because it offers a better reflection of real-world patient experiences, fosters better patient compliance and provides researchers with richer and more accurate data points.

FocalView app is developed using the Apple’s ResearchKit, which is an open-source platform to allow the scientists to collect research data from the users’ iPhones. It came to notice last year when the researchers published data on seizures, asthma attacks and heart disease using the tool.

The app is yet to be tested for its efficacy and usefulness for visual trials. Scientists are yet to ascertain the ease-to-use of the app that can ensure maximum enrollment and thus, higher volume of data that supports future research trials.

Besides working on the creation of the FocalView app, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant has also partnered with Pear Therapeutics and IBM Watson Heath to develop software applications to help schizophrenia and breast cancer patients amongst others.

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