The most familiar exercise capacity test in the field of pulmonary arterial hypertension is the 6-Minute Walk Test, where patients walk up and down a corridor for 6 minutes while their physiological parameters and distance walked are measured. This test is also used in other, different types of diseases, and Dr Joe Newman, a clinical researcher at the University of Cambridge, believes it can be adapted for remote use. He discussed his idea with Aparito, an award winning health technology company, and with Garmin Health, which produces fitness and health-tracking metrics and, through a collaboration with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK), has conducted focus groups and an online survey. The results were promising: 95% of patients in the United Kingdom have a smartphone, and 87% are confident in using apps. Even more encouraging, 93% of patients who don’t currently use a wearable device would be willing to do so to measure their activity most of the day if it was provided for free as part of a clinical trial.
Digital tools could allow patients to perform the 6 minute Walk Test at home and make clinical trials more accessible and convenient, Dr Newman says. And, he adds, patient-reported outcome measures and blood tests from finger prick capillary samples, could also be delivered from the comfort of patients’ homes. With this approach, patients can stay engaged, comfortable, and safe, making it easier to ensure the success of a clinical trial.
Aparito has partnered with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK) to set up a “Patient Group Accelerator Programme” to develop endpoints for patients with pulmonary hypertension. The programme is designed to understand and fulfil patient needs by working closely with patient organisations and finding new endpoints that are relevant to their specific conditions. By developing technological solutions, novel endpoints and digital biomarkers designed with patients, the objective is to show the feasibility of a potential new solution as a starting point for future validation and use in clinical trials.
Read more about this initiative at this link on the Aparito website