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New iPhone App Tracks Side Effects in Clinical Trials

Screen shot of CHOP iPhone app

Sample screen shot of specific types of adverse events in clinical trials. (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)

The Center for Biomedical Informatics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia converted all the reference information in the National Cancer Institute’s Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) into a software application, or “app”,  for the Apple iPhone. With this iPhone app, physicians can replace the 200-page CTCAE manual, with a four-ounce iPhone or iPod Touch.

The app provides an alphabetized list of symptoms, which a doctor can search, and the touch screen will display a definition, and then list grades of the problem—mild, moderate or severe. Using these categories, a care provider or clinical trial researcher can log data into the trial’s records, so the data can be shared with other hospitals and physicians having patients participating in the same trial. A user can also bookmark adverse events and categories that require more frequent access.

Although the classifications used in CTCAE originated in oncology research, they have broader application in clinical trials for other conditions. In addition to researchers, other caregivers such as attending physicians and medical students have been using the CTCAE app as an information resource, independent of clinical trials. The app is available free of charge from the Apple iTunes Web site.

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