Together with Mount Sinai, LifeMap Solutions was one of Apple’s first partners to test out the ResearchKit platform. They launched the Asthma Health app to gain greater insight into triggers of the disease and, in turn, help participants self-manage their asthma by avoiding areas where air quality could worsen symptoms. They are now sharing their initial experiences of the study.
First they said that a majority of users are willing to step through the app’s entire e-consent flow. The consent process starts with a participant learning what’s in store for them, and it’s what sets their attitudes towards the study. Transferring the paper consent process to a mobile one was a bold gamble and it paid off, big time. Based on preliminary data for the Asthma Health app, over half of users not only complete the e-consent process, they also come back the very next day to use the app. This is a very high rate of return for any app, let alone a health-related app.
Asthma Health users respond to the same types of encouragement as users of other apps – when they are reminded to check out the app.LifeMap also said that users are as engaged (or more) with Asthma Health as they are with games and social networks. The working theory is that users are motivated by the goal of supporting research that helps the entire patient community.
Furthermore, Asthma Health users respond to the same types of encouragement as users of other apps, with user engagement rising on Mondays, when they are reminded to check out the app. This, BTW, is the case with all mobile apps – users respond dramatically to regular reminders.
“ResearchKit has already proven to be a revolutionary option for conducting scientific medical research, unbounded by the geographical constraints of traditional studies,” the ResearchKit blog post reads. “The potential for future learning is enormous, especially as best practices are established.”