Novartis launches app to revolutionise patient experience in clinical trials

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Pharmaceutical company Novartis has launched an ophthalmic digital research app to help researchers track disease progression.

The FocalView app collects real-time, self-reported data directly from consenting patients. By adapting the design of clinical trials to suit the daily routine of patients, the app may reduce barriers to participation, and potentially accelerate the development of novel treatments.

Data capture in traditional ophthalmic clinical trials can be inflexible and infrequent, making it difficult for researchers to monitor patients’ disease activity. The FocalView app hopes to help patients complete assessments, gaining feedback on their visual function, including any changes over time. The app could also provide researchers with a greater volume of real-world, patient-reported data, creating more flexible and accessible clinical trial designs.

Dr. Mark Bullimore, medical advisor for the creation of FocalView, said: “Because patients with eye diseases are often not as mobile, FocalView has the potential to offer tremendous benefit for the ophthalmic community and for researchers looking to develop better treatments for these patients.

Collating validated patient-reported outcomes in clinical trial research is no longer a nice-to-have. This kind of data is fast becoming a critical element of research and development, because it offers a better reflection of real-world patient experiences, fosters better patient compliance and provides researchers with richer and more accurate data points.”

The app will be tested in a prospective, non-interventional study to assess its efficacy and usability for visual function. Researchers will look at the ease of use, level of enrolment and the ability to obtain important documentation for future clinical trial research.

Bertrand Bodson, Novartis chief digital officer, said: “Optimising digital technology in research and development, particularly in ophthalmic disease, could have a marked impact on the quality of the data we capture. We believe apps like FocalView, which we’ve made freely available to the research community on an open-source platform, can help accelerate the development of treatments and bring them to the patients who need them most.”

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