PHILADELPHIA – Penn Medicine has launched its first Apple ResearchKit app focused on patients with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory condition that can affect the lungs, skin, eyes, heart, brain and other organs. The effort marks Penn’s first time using modules from Apple’s ResearchKit framework, as part of the institution’s focus on mobile health and innovative research strategies. “There’s a motivated and engaged group of sarcoidosis patients who are active online, but there’s a whole host of them out there we don’t know about,” said Dr. Misha Rosenbach, app co-developer and assistant professor of Dermatology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in a statement. This app, which can securely, privately, and anonymously collect data, casts a wide net that may engage those people, and funnel valuable, much-needed information to researchers.” Called Sarcoidosis, the app will deliver informational resources to patients, supplying links to disease information and advocacy groups, and directing them to specialists in their area based on their phone’s GPS. Patients will have the ability to opt in to a research study, which can provide researchers with a trove of data about this rare disease. Optional, once-a-month surveys will ask users about, for example, their symptoms and flare ups, how sarcoidosis affects their lives and medications. The app will also optionally pull data naturally tracked through sensors on an iPhone to help the researchers spot any trends.
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