Tag Archives: iPad

Can Cancer Trial Apps Boost Enrollment?

Participation in clinical trials — and cancer trials in particular — is agonizingly low. The National Cancer Institute has estimated that less than 5% of patients participate in cancer trials.  But that could possibly change with the growing availability of applications for smart phones and tablets that instantly link clinicians and patients with ongoing trials.

Screenshot of Lilly Oncology Clinical Trials Resource

Just as the American Society for Clinical Oncology was starting off its annual meeting, Eli Lilly announced that it was launching a clinical trials app.  According to Lilly, the free app is available for the Apple iPad and iPhone, the RIM BlackBerry, and the Google Android. Physicians — or patients — can use the app to search oncology trials that are enrolling new patients by disease state, molecule being studied, study phase, country, state, and keyword.

The Lilly app also links patients and clinicians to resources such as support groups, financial help, and nutritional counseling, for instance.  Because it was developed by a drug maker, it also prominently features a search tool for Lilly-sponsored trials. Other than that, it appears to be very comprehensive and easy to use.

Lilly is not the first manufacturer to venture into a trials app. Last June, GlaxoSmithKline, in partnership with MedTrust Online LLC, launched a similar app that lets users search for trials for all cancer types. Unlike the Lilly app, it does not try to push users towards GSK-sponsored trials. It, too, appears to be very comprehensive and easy to use.

Screenshot of MedTrust search

The National Cancer Institute also has a free app, but only lets patients search for trials at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md.  As I attempted to explore the app, however, it crashed multiple times. Not a good omen.

Similarly, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has created an app — but it is narrowly focused only on trials for  acute myeloid leukemia at its member facilities.

iHealthVentures LLC has created an app with the snappy name of “Clinical Research Trials” that allows users to search all of clinicaltrials.gov database. It costs $1.99.

As more Americans turn to smartphones and tablets to manage their lives and health, these trial apps could come in handy. And maybe even save or extend lives by getting people enrolled earlier in protocols that could help them.

Just an aside — OncologyPractice.com has a link to ongoing trials on its website here.  And it has just launched a free app that features the latest news and views in the field.

–Alicia Ault (@aliciaault on Twitter)


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Filed under Health IT, IMNG, Oncology, Practice Trends

Be an iPioneer

By K. Wachter

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m open source and proud of it.  Still, it’s hard to ignore the frenzy these days over iThings.  The launch of the iPad may be what first springs to mind but if you’re getting ready to attend the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in late April, you should be thinking iTouch (officially the Apple iPod Touch).

If you’re an AANS member, you’ll be getting one at the meeting.  According to the association, “instead of a 165-page final program book and briefcase-size bag weighing just under 2 pounds, they will be receiving the Apple iPod touch and a convenient lightweight nylon pouch with neck strap to house it.”

That’s right.  The 2-inch thick abstract book is gone.  Please try to contain your glee.  This is hardly new.  Many medical organizations have been offering program and abstract books on CDs or flash drives for a while now. It was the adoption and gift of a single technology at a medical meeting that raised a lot of interesting questions in the newsroom—not the least of which was “do reporters get one too?”  [In a word, NO.  Press will get CDs or access to iPods in the press room.  Good. No need to worry about that whole conflict of interest thing.]

Curious about how all this was going to work, I called the media relations department at AANS and spoke with Betsy van Die, director of communications.  The big question: Who is paying for this?  According to Ms. van Die, part of the money comes from registration fees and corporate sponsorship, though she decined to give any specifics.

So what’s special about the AANS  iPod?  Of course, it will be loaded with the program book and abstracts.  There are special tutorials available online.  Members will have the ability download and listen to meeting podcasts, message other members, and vote in polls during some presentations and sessions.  It’s all very hip.

Of course, advertisers and exhibitors can get in on the fun too.  The association has lined up special advertising and marketing opportunities—splash ads, banner ads, stand-alone icons on the patrons page, exhibitor website listings, videocasts, podcasts, eBlasts, and sponsorships of iPod accessories (cases, chargers, iTunes cards to distribute at booths).

The initiative to embrace new technology comes from AANS leadership. Dr. Michael Oh—who heads the AANS iPod task force—pitched the idea.  (Read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s story on the birth of this intiative)  A member survey followed with positive results and the rest, as they say, is history.

As for those who might prefer not to use iAnything…well, they’re on their own. When I asked about this, Ms. van Die told me “well, they’ll just have to learn to use the iPod.”

Don’t be shy.  We want to know what you think about the iMeeting.

—Kerri Wachter (@knwachter on Twitter)

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Filed under IMNG, Neurology and Neurological Surgery, Practice Trends