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GSK set for 2017 European rollout of med device asthma app

Updated version of the MyAsthma iPhone app is firm's first Class 1 med device

MyAsthma app iPhone GSK GlaxoSmithKline The Earthworks 

GlaxoSmithKline is gearing up to roll-out the latest version of its asthma mobile app in additional European countries following its UK debut in September.

The new version of MyAsthma, which will be made more widely available from early 2017, is the first time a mobile app from pharma has been approved as a Class 1 medical device and CE marked.

First launched in 2012, it was originally designed as an app and service to help users understand their level of asthma control and subsequently launched in over 20 countries, registering more than 100,000 downloads.

“After reviewing the project we set out with a very brave ambition,” global digital director Kai Gait told the PM Society's Digital Works IV meeting earlier this month. “We set out to turn MyAsthma into the most sophisticated mobile health application to support any design, and not just asthma.”

The reason for wanting to make the app applicable to other therapy areas was that GSK's approach to mobile apps, involving multiple teams and approaches, was unsustainable, Gait said.

“We wanted to create a back-end that was re-usable, that simplified the delivery of apps and now we can build out [for other] diseases over time … and it's given us a great foundation going forwards.”

The redeveloped MyAsthma was developed with physicians from the University of Nottingham's respiratory research unit and The Earthworks as GSK worked to understand more about the user and smartphone technology use.

“The smartphone nowadays is the most powerful computer that we carry - it's even smarter than your laptop, because your whole life pretty much is on it. It knows where you are, what you're doing and what you're about to do.”

Building on that understanding the company wanted to develop an app that would help patients track and understand the triggers for their asthma, and integrate wearable and environmental data.

The goal was to help the company gain a better understanding of exactly what asthma is and how patients live with it.

The MyAsthma app allows patients to track their attacks, medication use and store their peak flow or spirometry readings and share that data with their healthcare professional. 

The feedback from HCPs to GSK was that a simple pdf download of this information could potentially save them 20 minutes in a consultation, freeing up more time for patient care.

The original version of MyAsthma was not a medical device, but the new version entered that territory by providing a customised view to the user through the provision of contexualised content.

Developing an app as a medical device was, Gait said, “one of the most complicated things I've ever done”. It saw GSK re-engineer its processes, during which the firm's Global Mobile Medical App Group became the new gatekeeper for localisation and process enforcement. 

The end result is an app platform that GSK will in the future use to support a variety of diseases other than asthma, with its consumer health operations the first to build an app on the foundations laid by the new version of MyAsthma.

28th November 2016

From: Marketing

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