Last month, Bracket, a clinical trial technology and specialty service provider, shared the announcement that it had acquired mProve Health, a mobile technology company whose offerings include an Electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes (ePRO) platform. The news represented a compelling success story amidst recent pessimism regarding the digital health sector. Following up with Bracket after the announcement, Medgadget was able to learn a bit more about both companies and the acquisition from Adam Butler, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development and Corporate Marketing for Bracket.
Medgadget: Was there a relationship between Bracket and mProve before the recent acquisition?
Adam Butler: Bracket approached mProve about a potential collaboration. It became clear during our early discussions that a strategic collaboration would bring many opportunities to both companies. We did not have a formalized relationship prior to this engagement, however, in our press release announcement, Jeff Lee, CEO of mProve spoke of our shared objectives, stating, “This acquisition is an opportunity to bring the shared visions of mProve and Bracket into focus. Both organizations center on improving patient engagement and driving adoption of the mHealth to do so. Together, we are well situated for a future of tech-enabled clinical trials.”
Medgadget: What are some of Bracket’s current technology solutions for enhancing clinical trials?
Butler: Bracket’s core platform is focused on electronic clinical outcomes assessments (eCOA) and clinical supply chain management. The combination of Bracket eCOA and Bracket RTSM provides users with a single platform to support the logistics and supply chain management of clinical trials and ensure tech-enabled clinical trials are interconnected and orderly, not disruptive. The seamless integration is further supported by Bracket’s native RTSM mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
The integration of Bracket eCOA and Bracket RTSM is enhancing clinical trials by driving patient engagement to collect compliant, quality data that subsequently supports better outcomes. Beyond that, Bracket’s extensive project management teams and staff of recognized industry thought leaders reduce the complexities of integrating technology into a trial, including into those with unique needs, with seamless end-to-end implementation, support and training.
Medgadget: How does mProve’s current technology, such as ePRO, increase patient engagement in clinical trials?
Butler: Patient engagement means bringing all aspects of a patient’s experience to the forefront during a research program. mProve started by developing simple mobile applications that helped guide a patient through the journey of their trial by way of appointment schedules, medication reminders, contact information and more.
Over time and as a natural extension of an important patient responsibility, mProve evolved to add more electronic patient reported outcomes (ePRO) capabilities to its suite. With mobile integration capabilities, including support for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, mProve’s suite uses familiar, not daunting, technology to encourage patient participation, enhance compliance, improve patient retention and ultimately, empower patients to become partners in their clinical trial.
Medgadget: How does mProve’s mobile technology add to or improve Bracket’s current offerings?
Butler: mProve has been a pioneer in the BYOD movement, a key area of focus in the eClinical world. While mainstream eCOA providers are challenged to retrofit their systems to support emerging mHealth technologies, mProve’s innovative product suite featuring native mobile capabilities will complement Bracket’s position as a leader in digitization of clinical trials and help drive the high level of patient engagement that clinical trials so desperately need.
Medgadget: Can you share a real-world example of how mProve’s technologies are being used to enhance clinical trials?
Butler: mProve’s mPal is a simple text messaging solution designed to increase patient retention and drive adherence to the study protocol. mPal works by sending messages to study participants’ mobile phones at precisely the right time. These messages can include medication reminders, including instructions for complex medications, appointment reminders, including pre-reminders to confirm the appointment, as well as preparation instructions and PRO diary interrogations, with intelligent sequencing possibilities.
In a recent case study on the use of mPal in a Bipolar Depression study, patients who were receiving mPal reminders had an 85% reduced risk in drug interruption compared to patients who did not use mPal reminders. Protocol deviations were consistently lower for subjects who use the mPal system.
Medgadget: Regarding the recent acquisition, I’m guessing Bracket faced the question: build or buy? In addition to proven technology, what other factors led Bracket to take the buy approach with this opportunity?
Butler: mProve assembled an impressive team in a small amount of time. The products they developed are a reflection of a really great and dedicated group of people who shared in Bracket’s vision to improve patient engagement and drive adoption of mHealth to do so. mProve’s mobile product suite is well-situated to meet the growing demand for mHealth in clinical trials; the product suite’s native mobile technology, familiar user-experience, and robust capabilities will be essential in supporting tech-enabled clinical trials.
Medgadget: The press release on the acquisition referenced a significant level of interest from clinical trial professionals in the utilization of mHealth, even more than big data and cloud technology for EMRs. What factors are contributing to this trend and what do you think the result of this trend will be moving forward?
Butler: mHealth is a priority for many healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations. The use of mobile technology is increasingly prominent in the daily lives of patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders. In the fields of healthcare and clinical research, where information is abundant and complexities are the norm, the ability to use mHealth to streamline data, reduce human error, and enhance data quality is an obvious and smart evolution. Not only is the technology compliant, familiar, and convenient, but key stakeholders are recognizing its high adoption rates and effectiveness in driving patient engagement and are therefore beginning to make aggressive investments in mHealth to improve patient experiences in clinical research.