ResearchKit and protecting privacy
The app was developed using Apple’s ResearchKit, an open source tool for app construction and data collection. Researchers are able to use ResearchKit to develop surveys, enroll participants, and collect data necessary to break new ground in difficult to understand diseases and medical issues.
Recruiting participants is often the first stumbling block for any medical study, and gathering them together to collect data is the second. ResearchKit avoids both of these problems, tapping into the wide and diverse pool of iPhone users to bring in participants and register live data. This fits perfectly with the study’s goal of studying the day-to-day activity of patients living with MS. Using iPhone sensors and user input, the study is able to collect quality data from a multitude of diverse individuals.
Novartis is hoping that several thousand participants with multiple sclerosis join the study, and are hoping that patients without MS will join as well to be part of a control group. Based on previous ResearchKit studies, the study will have no lack of control group participants, as an estimated 66% of participants will qualify for control. Participants can record as much or as little information as they would like through the app, which is designed to track symptoms of MS, set reminders for checking in, and testing user ability through short and simple activities.