Putting research in the hands of patients

Right now we are in the midst of a shift from “E”, to “I” to “X”. From Electronic, we have migrated into Internet en now into Exponential. This all has to do with the current state of innovation.

Lucien Engelen

Director of REshape

Right now we are in the midst of a shift from “E”, to “I” to “X”. From Electronic, we have migrated into Internet en now into Exponential. This all has to do with the current state of innovation.

Innovation is taking bruises. Falling down and get up on your feet again. To us at REshape innovation is defined like Peter Thiel describes it in his book : from zero to one. From nothing to something. From 1 to 100 is what we call implementation, equally important (maybe even more important) but not our cup of tea and not our task as REshape. We scout for new opportunities worldwide, new technology and sometimes do weird stuff.

One of the opportunities we see within reach is lowering the barrieres for research and data collection. Not only with all the ‘gadgets’ out their, but also because we can put though processes into algoritms that do things used to be done by people. Let me at this point not get into the labour debate, but for now share my vision that we are often looking away instead of engaging pro-actively.  Like penguins do. I guess at the end you started to recognize colleagues of you right ?


We see the same over and over again. Let’s take research. Apple’s Healthkit might already be the biggest personal health records in the World. On stage of our Our Future Health conference may 26th i asked the audience to show hands on who owns an iphone. Next i asked : Who has switched OFF healthkit : n=5 (I guess). They don’t have to worry the FBI case learned how secure it is 😉

On top of healthkit Apple has created research kit a framework from Apple easy-to-use platform, IF you know how to write code. Just image for a minute what would happen if patients could create their own research with it, what kind of questions would they come up with, how will they differ from what we expect. To be honest I think we will be flabbergasted with them.

So i wanted to put that kind of technology in the hands of patients, but how-to if you’re not able to code it. So I asked my team to explore building a real drag-and-drop platform for patients to create their own research so their answers become with reach of them.

We called the platform REach! So i inited my teammember  Thijs Sondag to the stage, who coordinated the creation of REach!

Thijs :
As of today, everybody can be a medical researcher.
About a year ago, Apple launched Researchkit, a platform to build apps that lets iPhone users participate in medical studies.
This platform has great potential, to give you an example: the Parkinson mPower app recruited 8000 participants in a week, a single week,  a process that would normally take years.
We think researchkit is awesome, if you know how to code. Unfortunately, not all patients are developers or have the resources to hire one.

And that’s why we developed Reach! from REshape.
Reach! is an easy-to-use platform that is developed in co-design with patients and researchers by which everybody can become a medical researcher.

Let me walk you through it. A patiënt or patiënt organization can set up their study with a drag and drop interface, super easy. Did you see what the kids to this morning? That was hard compared to this. The result of this draging and dropping is a block of code that can either be used in the generic Reach application or in a new or existing app.

This app can be free or priced so that the patiënt or patiënt organization can crowdfund the needed money to hire trained researchers to work with the data. So, the app is in the store and people start downloading the application. They can simply ‘enroll’ in the study by means of giving permission to use the data, filling in some questions, performing active tasks like hearing or memory tests and giving access to their healthcare data. This data is provided by Apple’s Healthkit, where Lucien talked about earlier, which uses data from other applications and wearables devices out there such as watches, wristband and weighting scales. The data of the study can be stored on our Radboudumc server or on your own server provider such as Teamscope, who will be on stage next.

After the study is finished, the patient or hired researcher can download the data file and start analyzing immediately. And that’s all.  Keep in mind that we’ve started with Apple’s researchkit and will add other platforms such as the Science Journal Platform from Google to support Android phones as well.
And that’s REach! from REshape

We want patients to make their dreams come true by answering the questions they have and with that their goals within reach. Apple and iOS is first, Android next in order to make this platform available to as many patients out there.


We’re launcing our beta program today, including enrolling 100 beta-testers. To be part of that hopp over to REach! and apply for the beta program. As you can imagine : patients first, but yes it can be used by researchers too 😉

2017-02-21T10:42:04+01:00May 28th, 2016|Categories: Blog, Director's Blog|