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Research Effort Targets the Integration of Electronic Devices to Capture Key Info About Conditions Like RA

A combined research effort by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Global Healthy Living Foundation’s arthritis support community CreakyJoints.org aims to launch a study integrating electronic devices to capture key information about conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from patients and physicians. A news release from University of Alabama at Birmingham reports that the study will use electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablet computers in order to collect data directly from patients and clinicians, a process called Patient Reported Outcome (PRO). Patient-reported data can then be de-identified and used collectively to assist investigators in assessing the efficacy of different treatment options.

Jeffrey Curtis, MD, associate professor in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, explains that the concept hinges on facilitating interaction between patients and their healthcare providers; gathering pertinent information and ultimately establishing the most appropriate treatment regime.

“It’s an effort to discover what treatments are working best for which patients,” Curtis adds.

The study aims to gather data via electronic devices used by a patient during a clinical visit to their doctor’s office or at home via the Internet. Surveys on the devices will provide answers to questions such as how the patient is feeling and what changes may have recently occurred in his or her condition.

The data gathered by the surveys, “will create an infrastructure to help people with a chronic disease be part of national research projects. It will give them a way to have their voices heard by both their personal health care provider and the overall research community, as well as policymakers in the delivery of medical care,” Curtis says in the release.

The affiliation with CreakyJoints offers researchers access to a large number of engaged RA, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and psoriasis patients, Curtis notes.

“We want to create an environment where we are continually collecting data on a long-term, ongoing basis. Armed with that data, we can continue to fine-tune treatment strategies with a goal of remission of the disease. We are excited to be able to do this patient-centered project with funding from PCORI, as PCORI has patients involved in every step of its funding and review process,” Curtis says.

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham