Novartis launches app to collect patient-reported data in studies for ophthalmic diseases

Novartis on Wednesday launched an app designed to accelerate the development of treatments for ophthalmic diseases by allowing patients in clinical studies to self-report data. The FocalView app, created using Apple's ResearchKit, enables researchers to track disease progression by collecting real-time, self-reported data directly from patients.

"Optimising digital technology in research and development, particularly in ophthalmic disease, could have a marked impact on the quality of the data we capture," noted Bertrand Bodson, Novartis' chief digital officer. "We believe apps like FocalView…can help accelerate the development of treatments and bring them to the patients who need them most," Bodson added.

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According to Novartis, FocalView will be tested in a prospective, non-interventional study to evaluate the app's efficacy and usability in assessing visual function. The company said that these measurements include visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, while in the next phase, the app will be validated against traditional visual testing that takes place within conventional clinical settings.

Novartis noted that FocalView aims to help patients complete various assessments, gaining feedback on their visual function, including any changes over time. The company indicated that the app may provide researchers with a greater volume of real-world, patient-reported data, creating more flexible and accessible clinical trial designs.

The launch of the app follows an agreement signed last month between Novartis and Science 37 to start up to 10 new clinical trials over the next three years that will combine virtual and traditional models. The studies will use Science 37's Network Oriented Research Assistant technology, which enables patients to participate in studies using mobile devices and telemedicine services.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Expect Novartis' digital push to accelerate.

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