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Going native: Stepping back from the functionality cliff

Sunday, March 1, 2015

There has been a huge demand in the healthcare industry for the development of eCOA (electronic Clinical Outcomes Assessment) as user-friendly health apps to monitor patients’ progress and help them self-regulate their condition.

Currently, the most common approach when developing healthcare apps is to use HTML5, which wraps a web app into mobile operating controls. However, as HTML5 is a web-based language, it limits the layout of screens—affecting optimization for a device’s screen size—and restricts the incorporation of OS-specific button configurations.

In contrast, native apps provide a consistent look and feel across all screens and device types and can be developed to deliver clinical and healthcare programs in a timely, cost-effective manner across all platforms, without the need to compromise on the user experience. Native apps also enable the display to be optimized to the users’ own personalized accessibility settings. They are ideal for use in geographies with unreliable connectivity. In this case, a native app stores data locally in an encrypted form until a connection is made to enable secure data transfer, ensuring the data is deleted once it has been sent. This applies particularly in the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach, which is becoming more popular in clinical settings due to patients’ familiarity with their own devices.

Finally, alongside the collection of primary outcomes data, native apps also can facilitate the measurement of secondary outcomes data through the active integration of medical device data (such as Vitalograph asma1-bt and MyGlucoHealth) and the passive integration with lifestyle devices (such as FitBit and the Withings devices), which are becoming increasingly popular tools for use in clinical research.


Written by Guest Writer Chris Watson. Watson is product manager at Exco InTouch, responsible for implementing mobile product strategy. He holds a Ph.D. in behavioral neuropharmacology and is an experienced product strategist with over 16 years of experience in the delivery of business and consumer-based solutions, the last six of which have been focused in the clinical technology industry. He has an extensive knowledge of product and software development processes. www.mdsol.com

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 03, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.comSubscribe >>

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