Bayer-backed study looks at how patients' perceive digital products in care, clinical trials

By Dave Muoio
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ActiGraph activity monitors and a mobile app from Clinical Ink are are at the heart of a newly announced pilot study backed by Bayer, according to a statement released today by ActiGraph. The ongoing study is evaluating how these digital products and a Bluetooth-enabled weight scale are perceived by patients, and the feasibility of implementing such devices in future clinical trials run by the pharmaceutical company.

“Our hopes are to create a better experience for all involved with our clinical trials while enhancing our data collection efforts,” Michelle Shogren, portfolio and operations innovation manager at Bayer, said in a statement. “By listening to the patient’s voice, we have the ability to improve our study designs of the future and ultimately help patients get the medicines they need.”

Conducted by HITLAB, the study is broken into two separate phases, each a month long. In the first, which has been completed, participants downloaded Clinical Ink’s SureSource Engage app, wore an ActiGraph GT9X Link activity monitor 24 hours a day, and measured their weight with the connected scale.

After this phase was completed and feedback was received, researchers decided to add ActiGraph’s cloud-based CentrePoint Data Hub to simplify patients’ data uploads from home, then run the study for an additional month.

Clinical Ink offers a digital patient engagement platform designed with clinical studies in mind. The mobile app accompanying its SureSource platform enables simpler patient-reported data submission, allows for study configuration and deployment within weeks, and is easily downloaded through the Apple and Google storefronts.

ActiGraph’s GT9X Link is a continuous activity monitor designed for use in clinical trials and other health research. The Bluetooth-connected wearable includes a gyroscope, magnetometer, and secondary accelerometer to accurately quantify movement by inertial measurement units (IMUs), and has a programmable display that can be configured to the user or trial designer’s specifications.

Bayer’s most recent high-profile digital health move was the launch of a new accelerator program in the US, which the pharma company announced during Health 2.0’s Fall Conference in October. Concrete plans for the new venture, dubbed G4A Generator, were still under development, but representatives of the company said that they are looking to emulate the innovation model that’s been working for its Berlin G4A (Grants4Apps) program in Berlin.

“Consumers are more and more interested in drug-free solutions,” Barton Warner, VP of strategy and portfolio management at Bayer, said at the time. “We’re seeing this whole area of digital really starting to take hold and grow. So the growth is happening, it’s just not happening in the spaces where Bayer traditionally operates.”