Boston Children’s Hospital Launches Apple ResearchKit-Based App to Study Fever

March 29, 2016
Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) and Autoinflammatory Diseases Clinic has launched an Apple ResearchKit-based app for the iPhone, called Feverprints, as part of a study to better understand body temperature patterns.

Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) and Autoinflammatory Diseases Clinic has launched an Apple ResearchKit-based app for the iPhone, called Feverprints, as part of a study to better understand body temperature patterns.

Fever is one of the most common signs of infection, yet fever can also indicate the presence of other medical conditions, including autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases. While a body temperature of 98.6 °F (37°C) is generally considered normal, this temperature may not be accurate, as it does not account for temperature differences between individuals, and for one person at various times throughout the day, according to a statement from Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Many factors come together to set an individual's 'normal' temperature, such as age, size, time of day and maybe even ancestry," Jared Hawkins, PhD, the director of informatics for IDHA, a member of Boson Children's Computational Health Informatics Program, said in a statement.

”We want to help create a better understanding of the normal temperature variations throughout the day, to learn to use fever as a tool to improve medical diagnosis, and to evaluate the effect of fever medications on symptoms and disease course” Hawkins, one of the Feverprints team leads, said. “By using ResearchKit to bring this study to iPhone, we're able to gather more data about body temperature patterns than ever before possible."

With the Feverprints app, researchers will be able to use the software to crowdsource personal information about body temperature, lifestyle and health. The app, which is open to adults as well as children with parental consent, will regularly remind users to record their temperature and answer questions about their symptoms, medications, lifestyle and health.

The team—led by Fatma Dedeoglu, M.D., director of the Autoinflammatory Diseases Clinic, and Boston Children's rheumatologist Jonathan Hausmann, M.D.—will mine the submitted data to refine the range of body temperatures called normal and febrile. They will also use the data to define unique patterns of temperature—"feverprints"—that may help clinicians diagnose infections and other diseases more quickly and accurately. In addition, the team will systematically examine how effectively fever-reducing medicines work to reduce temperature in real-world use.

This is the second ResearchKit app developed by Boston Children’s Hospital, which launched its first app focused on hepatitis C, called C-Tracker, last year.

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