rheumatoid arthritis phone app

Arthritis app wins ‘Patients as Partners’ award

A phone app for people with rheumatoid arthritis to monitor their symptoms has won a prestigious national award.

Global pharmaceutical company AbbVie’s ‘Patients as Partners’ awards recognise those who have made an exceptional contribution to the lives of patients and contributed toward a more sustainable health service. The phone app developed by researchers at Salford Royal and The University of Manchester was recognised in the ‘enabling patients with technology’ category.

Coordinated by the National Institute of Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Care (NIHR CLAHRC GM), the research team has helped rheumatoid arthritis patients monitor their own condition via a mobile phone app, known as REMORA (Remote Monitoring of Rheumatoid Arthritis).  The condition is complex and fluctuating so patients can experience flare ups between their regular appointments. By providing real time data for doctors, the app improves diagnosis and treatment decisions. The research shows that this is a real patient benefit while being cost effective and easy for patients to use.

One of the patients who took part in the trial said: “I found the app made a big difference, because it wasn’t all me telling the doctor and trying to remember everything.  The information was there, so you’ve got solid proof straightaway and it’s a shared conversation.”

Professor Will Dixon, Director of the Arthritis UK Centre for Epidemiology and academic lead for the REMORA study at NIHR CLAHRC GM, said:  Patients have been an invaluable part of this project, we’ve engaged with them to co-design REMORA every step of the way to ensure it works around their needs, so it’s great that the technology has been recognised for such a patient focussed award.

“This is a great accolade and testament to the commitment of all those involved in the development of the app.  The next stage of REMORA will aim to investigate how remote monitoring could be used on a larger scale and how it can be adopted within the NHS as part of usual clinical care – the AbbVie bursary will be a great contribution to helping us achieve that.”

As a winner in the this category, the team will receive a bursary of up to £3,000 to spend on research  and share best practice that will benefit patients and/or the NHS.

Jane Dwelly, Category Judge, said: “Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex long-term condition and effectively treating it means collecting as much data as possible to build each patient an individual treatment plan. The REMORA app gives patients control by allowing them to log all their symptoms instantly, and then integrates this with their eectronic health record.  Furthermore, the app collects other data such as the social and emotional impacts of having rheumatoid arthritis which support effective treatment.”

Pictured are Phil Schwab from AbbVie, Peter Mellor from Salford Royal, Karen Staniland, REMORA’s patient and public involvement lead and Carrie Grant, patient advocate.