Real-Time Multiple Sclerosis Tracking App Debuts
Living with multiple sclerosis is an experience unique to each affected individual. Some days are easier, while others are more difficult, and no two conditions are alike. Monitoring the course and progression of the disease is important for the prediction and prevention of future complications, and being as communicative as possible about the struggles one faces while coping with MS plays a large role in effectively treating symptoms.
Doctor’s visits are important for anyone living with multiple sclerosis, since the disease lives and breathes as the person does. Everyday tasks and small, day-to-day complications are the realities patients must deal with, and any given moment can vary between good and bad. Instead of catching a patient on a good or bad day when they come in for an appointment, a team of researchers has been developing an app that can monitor and survey people living with MS in order to identify daily triggers and complicating factors.
For the prediction and prevention of future complications, it is important to monitor the course and progression of the disease. A person with MS has to visit the doctor often as well as deal with the complications of performing regular tasks. An app has been developed recently by a team of researchers that will help to identify complicating factors and daily triggers by monitoring and surveying the patient. A person with MS and even someone without can both use the app in order to understand the realities of day-to-day complications people with MS have to cope with. Elevate MS can be downloaded from the app store for free. In Switzerland, the global healthcare company, Novartis, conducted this research study in order to understand the increasing needs of MS patients worldwide.
Data is submitted through the app, with which researchers can gain deeper insight. The information comes in the form of a questionnaire; active, sensor-based movement data; passive-movement data; and performance tasks. Conventional MS testing can then take place at the clinic. The physician there will ask a series of questions, and the patient may or may not respond to them. The responses of the patients may be biased, especially when the questions are related to their mood and quality of life. Through this app, though, patients are more in control of these tests, and so a broader data pool can be created to further the research.
According to Novartis, the study’s approach is more patient-centric. Through clinical visits, the doctor may pick up on clues as to how the average person is affected by the disease, but what it is like on a daily basis data is not well known. Novartis feels that the things that matter to patients should be measured in a more quantitative way, such as knowing how they function cognitively and physically in their everyday lives.
It took a year’s worth of planning and long-held desires to launch this app. It has been tested for its aesthetic appeal, its ability to achieve the desired outcomes, and its utility before being deemed ready for use.
Researchers are able to use a program called researchKit to develop surveys, enroll participants, and collect data. ResearchKit avoids the problem of having to recruit participants to gather data. It is hoped that several participants both with and without MS will join the study.
Participants can have access to all the data submitted by them, and the amount of information submitted can be altered by them based on their comfort level. The transmission of data is done without revealing anyone’s name or identity, and permission has to be granted before any information is communicated to the third party. An important part of this study is privacy. Even IT staff members do not have open access to the submitted information. They are only able to trace back an individual, if needed. The key to defeating and curing this disease is through medical research.