An innovative medical cannabis app has launched in the UK and it’s putting patients front and centre of their care.
Launching on Tuesday 27 October, Eva is a new platform to help patients consuming cannabinoid medications manage their symptoms and capture critical data on the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis.
The app has been developed by digital therapeutics company Alta Flora and allows patients to record symptoms, medication consumption and quality of life through their phone.
It includes features for patients to add and track symptom severity and medication use – with functionality for multiple symptoms and medicine routes of administration, such as dose and formulation.
It also allows users to explore trends through interactive tools and assess their quality of life using validated scales and questionnaires, with a clinically valid framework used by NICE (National Institute for Care and Excellence).
It has been designed for use by all patients, however they access their medication.
Alta Flora’s research found a range of challenges facing patients considering medical cannabis as a treatment, including a lack of data of medical cannabis products, stigmatisation within the healthcare system and a lack of access to prescribers and products.
Commenting on the launch, Gavin Sathianathan, CEO and founder of Alta Flora, said: “It has been two years since cannabis was made legal for medical purposes in the UK and since
then, access to these life-changing medicines for patients has barely improved.
“This failure largely rests on a lack of data, the absence of which deprives doctors and
clinicians of the confidence to prescribe it as a treatment.”
Gavin told Cannabis Health that patients who were tracking their symptoms and consumption were then able to have more open discussions about cannabis with their doctors.
“The nature of cannabis medicines means that the patient is required to listen to their own body – it’s not a standardised thing that you can just get from a doctor, it requires patient-centric tools for us to understand and that’s what we are trying to build,” he said.
“Those patients who took that data to their clinicians found they were engaging with their doctors in a way that was educating them and they were able to have less stigmatised conversations.”
Eva also includes tools for researchers to organise studies within their organisation, such as clinics who want to capture data on their own patients.
“The future of healthcare is patient-centric care. The voice of the patient is becoming much more important, they have a seat at the table now,” he said.
According to Gavin the evidence base produced by Eva will serve both patient and industry needs and could play a key role in providing much-needed data for the safety and efficacy of products, ensuring wider acceptance of medical cannabis.
“We’ve got some really motivated patients who often, after trying lots of different medicines have found that cannabis does work and want to contribute data to improve access for patients in the UK,” he continued.
“We’ve got an opportunity to build a data set to help clinics, prescribers and regulators, understand the impact of cannabis on patients symptoms and quality of life in a lot more detail.”
Gavin also hopes the platform could also be used to track the effectiveness of CBD products on pain, anxiety and sleep,
But Eva’s potential expands beyond cannabis – particularly in a post-pandemic era, he says.
“When we shared what we were doing with academics and researchers it became clear that this idea of instrumenting in real-time the consumption of medicines is valid beyond cannabis,” Gavin added.
“In a post-COVID context, we’re thinking much more about preventative medicine and staying well.
“We’ve had enquiries from the psychedelic space and for monitoring medication used to treat conditions such as diabetes and ADHD.”
Academics from leading UK charity Drug Science have played a role in design, and content from a range of organisations including the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, Primary Care
Cannabis Network, MedCannID, PLEA, and CPASS is integrated into Eva.
The service is fully GDPR compliant and will include patient safety monitoring features
and real-time reporting dashboards for clinicians.
Eva is available to download on the Android store. The iOS version will be available from early December.
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