celerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope sensors, the app
collects movement information while the participant performs
guided wrist exercises.
The Study’s Potential & Limitations
Although GSK’s effort is commendable, it’s not the full mon-
ty. PARADE can be classified as an observational study, mean-
ing that there is no intervention, no investigational drug being
studied. Instead, this study will add to the body of knowledge
about rheumatoid arthritis. Novel patterns or trends about the
condition and what it does to a patient could now be identi-
fied, whereas before they could not be reliably detected.
There are some potential criticisms to data collected via
ResearchKit. As iPhone users, participants may tend to be on
the younger side and perhaps have a milder form of the condition. And while someone with severe chronic arthritis may not
be able to afford an iPhone, income level really shouldn’t play
a significant part in disease activity. One of the few limiting
factors may be that participants may not be motivated or disciplined enough to enter data every single day for 12 weeks.
For GSK, PARADE is a stepping stone. If the study goes
well, it may green light the company to use apps in a supple-
mentary way to collect information in a grander clinical trial
that includes an investigational drug. This could open the door
for other drug companies to follow suit, perhaps en masse.
This could ultimately increase efficiencies with the entire
drug development process, and also contribute to drugs being
more precisely studied and effectively prescribed based on
highly individualized patient information. Finally then, the advancement of medicine might take a quantum leap, and the full
potential of Apple’s altruistic effort here could be recognized.
Joe Gass has a BS in Health Sciences and over 20 years of experience in a wide variety
of roles in healthcare. A recovering triathlete and yoga instructor, Joe currently works
as an information specialist in the medical communications industry.