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GSK sets its sights high for MyAsthma app

Firm wants its mobile app to be one of the best available for any disease
MyAsthma

GlaxoSmithKline wants its award-winning asthma application to set the bar for other mobile apps, irrespective of the condition they were developed for.

Digital director Kai Gait said the company has made a 'big and brave' commitment to continue to evolve MyAsthma, a first of its kind app whose development was informed by behavioural psychology.

He told the PM Society's Digital Works II event in London earlier this week: “We want the app to understand the user, evolve with them and become smart with them.”

MyAsthma uses the Asthma Control Test (ACT), a validated questionnaire developed by GSK, to allow patients to measure their asthma control and provide motivation for them to change their current behaviours.

The app also provides metrics such as the pollution index and current pollen count to give users notice of any problems they might have.

MyAsthma was launched in 2012 in partnership emotive, and GSK and the agency subsequently claimed the Communiqué Excellence in Patient Programmes award in 2013.

Gait stated: “For health apps to succeed we must not approach projects from a vanity perspective. We must focus on the patient, the problem or the condition.”

He also noted key problems regarding general app usage, saying: “Drop-off rates for newly-downloaded apps is horrendous. Getting an app featured in the app store by Apple leads to a massive spike in downloads; however, the consequences and deterioration rate of the app becomes spectacular and they are battered for error reporting.”

Lifting trials with Apple's ResearchKit

PM Society's Digital Works II event also heard from The Earthworks' Alex Butler, who outlined the scale of challenges facing pharma in clinical trials, and where mobile technology could help companies.

He said: “Research is really struggling - things haven't changed within clinical settings in decades. The landscape of pharmaceutical trials through various phases is shrinking and trying to understand medicines and healthcare in the real world is becoming much more relevant.

“The FDA thinks clinical trials are in crisis - 80% of trials are late and 20% don't even happen. Organisations like the NHS and NICE say we must get more people involved in healthcare research.”

One way of tackling this problem according to Butler is through Apple's mobile ResearchKit software.

Released earlier this year as a build on the company's HealthKit software - it enables scientists to generate applications that can act as a conduit for medical research.

Butler said: “It's about taking a potential 700 million iPhone users and turning those devices into possible diagnostic medical devices and the users into possible research participants.”

Currently available apps developed with ResearchKit are Glucosuccess, MyHeart, mPower for Parkinson's disease, Share the Journey for breast cancer and Asthma Health.

In March Stanford used the MyHeart app to recruit 11,000 people in just 24hrs for a cardiovascular study – something which would usually require dozens of centres and at least 12 months. The figure for the study currently stands at over 50,000.

Butler finished by saying: “Individuals have very strong motivations to help other people. People feel like they're contributing to society.”

Article by
Nikhil Patel

25th September 2015

From: Marketing

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