Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 17, 2012

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Uses Mytrus App to Improve the Informed Consent Process

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will be evaluating the efficacy of digital tools in enhancing patient understanding and simplifying enrollment during the informed consent process. In order to do this, the university will be taking advantage of the Mytrus application for iPad.

Mytrus touts itself as a way to bring clinical trials directly to its participants. According to their website, the application works by users finding a trial that interests them, seeing if they qualify, agreeing to the study requirements, and then receiving an informed consent form, Mytrus credit card, and other materials that they will need to complete the trial in the mail. Once participants have received all of the necessary materials (the company notes that some trials may require additional packages), they can log into their Mytrus account, where they will be taken through the trial task by task in their participant dashboard. Some of the upcoming clinical trials that will be utilizing Mytrus include: sleep disorders, binge eating, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and COPD.

Anthony Costello, the chief executive officer of Mytrus, says that the application “gives study sponsors a window into the informed consent process that they’ve never had before”. Costello says that the University of Alabama at Birmingham, like many of their sponsors, recognizes that “increasing a patient’s understanding and comfort level during consent is the best way to retain highly motivated and protocol compliant patients throughout the study.”

Bob Shepard of UAB News says that this is important for the university because informed consent is “one of the most important considerations for research institutions.”  According to his article, the current process is an expensive and complicated one, which involves research associates explaining the particulars to an individual or a group and having them read and sign “a myriad of forms.”

Kenneth G. Saag, M.D. a professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Medicine and the director at their Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics of Musculoskeletal Disorders, says that the traditional method creates barriers to participation because it is difficult for a local physician to implement, which he hopes Mytrus will overcome. He says, “We need these sorts of large, pragmatic comparative-effectiveness trials to give doctors and patients the information they need to make the best choices between available treatments.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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