October 06, 2015
1 min read

New app allows patients with HCV to track their health

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Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Computational Health Informatics Program have developed an iPhone application that allows patients with hepatitis C virus infection to track their own health and be more involved in outcomes research for the infection, according to a press release.

The app, known as C Tracker, is available on iTunes and uses Apple’s HealthKit to collect each individual’s daily activity and other relevant health data “with patient permission,” according to the release. With the use of C Tracker, people with HCV can track their health, medication use and quality of life over long periods of time.

 “C Tracker will evaluate the impact of hepatitis C on people’s lives in ways we never could before,” Ken Mandl, MD, MPH, director of Boston Children’s Computational Health Informatics Program (CHIP), and investigator of the C Tracker project, said in the release. “It turns research participation into a patient-driven, democratic endeavor.”

In addition to the C Tracker, researchers at CHIP developed C3-PRO, which stands for Consent, Contact and Community framework for Patient Reported Outcomes, a framework that can connect any Apple ResearchKit app to an open source data platform called i2b2. The i2b2 can connect to medical centers and enable them to analyze and share clinical data for future research.

“By and large, the data we have now about hepatitis C treatments come from traditional clinical trials,” Mandl said. “With C Tracker, we can listen to the patient voice to learn how people live with hepatitis in the real world.”

According to the release, there is only limited data on how patients respond to newly approved drugs for the treatment of HCV. The researchers believe C Tracker offers an “unprecedented opportunity” to provide this much needed information by recording the daily experiences of patients with HCV.

“Traditional clinical trials are plagued by abysmal accrual rates, slowing progress in discovering cures,” Mandl said. “We foresee a future where ResearchKit apps like C Tracker lower the barrier to participation and speed medical progress.”

Disclosures: Mandl reports being employed by Boston Children’s Computational Health Informatics Program.