Linkt Location uses geofencing technology to track a user’s location and joins Datacubed’s offering lineup, including its eCOA, behavior, and cognition modules.
Geofencing technology is common and used in most industries, explained David Kiger, Datacubed chief commercial officer, and works by processing Wi-Fi, cell tower triangulation, and telemetric data to identify when a user’s device enters a ‘fenced’ geographic area, such as a hospital.
Once a participant enters this area – which can be modified to meet the needs of a specific study or project – the Linkt Location app alerts study managers. Chatbots, surveys, and other communications can then be deployed to garner insight into why the patient was in the area and the outcome of any health care interaction.
“If you’re somewhere in Chicago, you can pull up the Starbucks app and it will geolocate you and tell you where the two or three nearest Starbucks are. Similarly, pharma and physicians want to take advantage of this type of technology,” Kiger told us.
Importantly, the app does not store the user’s specific location data, only alerting the provider if the participant has entered a geofenced area. It also features a time dependency to ensure a reminder is sent in the event that a participant is at a clinical site or hospital longer than 15 minutes.
“Based on the maps, the system knows to automatically send the surveys, which could be symptom surveys, and some may lead to adverse events if the patient responds in such a way,” Kiger said, noting that many critical endpoints are late or never put in the electronic health records (EHRs) or electronic data capture (EDC) systems.
“In fact, a recent survey of 413 clinical trials found that 70% were missing crucial outcome data, largely as a result of under-reporting adverse events,” he said, “and this is definitely true in cardiovascular studies.”
According to the survey, critical patient outcomes, including death, were reported 23% of the time. “So this is one area where the industry is truly underrepresenting these events which could be cardiovascular events or adverse events in general,” Kiger added.
Additionally, the technology also has use cases in depression studies as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. “As [these] diseases begin to progress in the later years, you might run a study to show someone isn’t leaving the home,” Kiger said, explaining that the app “can objectively show the lack of activity outside the home” enabling Datacubed to work with pharma on how disease progression is linked to activity.
“Down the road, if a health care organization requests, the IRB approves, and patients consent, new approaches such as geolocation can be used to find missing Alzheimer’s patients in studies,” he added. “As times goes on, I think the patients and the patient advocacy groups will want more location services to be used in clinical trials for serious conditions.”
In related news, Kiger also recently spoke at the Patient Experience Summit about incorporating behavioral sciences into modern technology in the pharma and wellness industries. In the example he presented, he described how the fitness streaming company Peloton used human leadership board analytics, digital avatars, and high-five nudging to increase compliance rates from 35% to more than 75%.
“I think people are recognizing the need for modern use cases and behavioral sciences,” said Kiger. “Making these apps and solutions more like other modern experiences and we are really trying to break down the barriers of pharma’s adoption.”