Apple's ResearchKit takes center stage in GlaxoSmithKline study

Apple's ResearchKit is making its way back into the news today, with GlaxoSmithKline announcing a new rheumatoid arthritis study that uses an app made with the ResearchKit framework. This is a big win for Apple, as it's the first time a drugmaker has used ResearchKit in the development of a clinical study. The study is already underway and involves 300 participants, who can use the app developed using ResearchKit to input pain and mood levels and run mobility tests that use the iPhone's on-board sensors to determine and collect valuable information like range of motion.

It would seem that using ResearchKit comes with a few advantages over traditional studies for GlaxoSmithKline. For starters, if participants are using an app on their iPhone to take part in the study, they no longer need to take off work or otherwise find the time to visit a research facility. The cost of research would also be significantly decreased for GlaxoSmithKline, allowing the company to collect data without necessarily having to pay nurses or doctors to observe participants in person.

Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to basing a study on the ResearchKit framework. GlaxoSmithKline is at the mercy of its participants here, as they may forget to enter information that's vital to the success of the study when they're not in a clinical environment. Another potential drawback is a certain barrier to entry for participants in that they'll need an iPhone to participate.

Still, if this can help GlaxoSmithKline pull off a successful study at a fraction of the cost and with a wider pool of potential participants, it'll be a big victory for ResearchKit. Depending on how this initial study goes, GlaxoSmithKline may opt to use ResearchKit to build future studies. GlaxoSmithKline's study will play out over the next three months, so we'll have a little longer to wait before we see how the ResearchKit-based trial went for the drugmaker.

SOURCE: Bloomberg Technology