Glaxo Smith Kline launches new mobile app based study

20 July 2016

New GSK PARADE (patient rheumatoid arthritis data from the real world) app promises to ‘learn from real patients’.

Glaxo Smith Kline has released an app paired with a patient study developed to provide the pharmaceutical company with a wealth of information on how people cope with rheumatoid arthritis and inform new drug development. 

The GSK PARADE app is the first pharmaceutical app built using Apple’s ResearchKit open source framework. Apple, manufacturer of the Imac and Iphone announced ResearchKit back in 2015. Designed specifically for medical and health research, the framework allows app designers to make full use of a range of pre-coded functions, and access the Iphone’s inbuilt sensors for accurate data recording.

The release from GSK comes at a time when there is increasing scrutiny of mobile health apps; a team at University of California San Francisco published a paper that argues that effective impact of health apps is limited by accessibility and comprehension concerns, whilst in the US capital a hearing of The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee focused on fears of data security, accuracy, misdiagnosis and the lack of regulation.

GSK’s app does seem to have taken steps to prevent problems: the app incorporates software from Medidata, a platform for cloud based clinical trials to ensure the security of the data collected; whilst a development company was employed to work on the design and usability of the GSK app.

Still, an article on one website believes it may be that the apps which have the greatest benefit for people’s health are the ones we don’t expect, or don’t appear to be health apps at all. 

The explosive success of Pokemon Go: the augmented reality, monster catching game has record numbers of people walking around outside. The app, despite its limited availability, has surpassed twitter for active users and doubled the stock value of its Japanese owner since its launch on July sixth.

The app requires players to move from place to place looking for hidden creatures, which once found can be captured and trained. As a result, users are already reporting massive spikes in the amount of exercise they take.

The success of the app (despite its health benefits being unintentional) shows the potential impact that mobile health apps could have on people’s lives.

In the meantime Pokemon Go is getting people out and about and enjoying the summer.

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