Australian-developed cannabis health app OnTracka is launching a research arm to enable participants in clinical trials to provide anonymised real-time data via their smartphone.

OnTracka Research connects to industry-standard data-collection tool Redcap through an API, providing the ability to complete phase one to three clinical trials within one familiar infrastructure.

OnTracka founder Chad Walkaden

Founder Chad Walkaden told Cannabiz the model would enable direct-to-patient studies and increase retention by making it easy and convenient for participants to provide their feedback.

He said: “If you complete a research project through a university, generally when the project finishes, the participants stop. With OnTracka, patients are already logging their information and completing questionnaires, so it’s more likely they will continue doing that.

“And that’s when the additional real-world information and evidence will be able to support business intelligence and enable an understanding of what’s going on over a longer period of time.”

Walkaden said the research product will collect anonymised data to comply with the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a US federal law which sets standards for the protection of sensitive patient healthcare information.

He added: “OnTracka Research enables a university or company who wants to study pain, for example, to set the requirements and gather data from participants via their phone rather than them having to complete a questionnaire in the old-school way.

“If you want to complete research, make claims, look at reimbursement in the future and be able to evidence what’s going on with clean, independent and reliable data via a credible, HIPAA-compliant platform, we can do that for you.”

Walkaden said while initially it will be the researchers’ responsibility to recruit patients, in the long term OnTracka will be able to provide a ready-made audience via its global network of users.

In May, the company struck a white-label deal with UK medicinal cannabis firm Grow Pharma to export its technology to Europe under the name Calyx. It is rolling out similar arrangements in the US, Latin America and New Zealand in the coming weeks.

In New Zealand, OnTracka is partnering with health and wellness company Ora Pharm.

CEO Zoe Reece said: “We’re excited to launch our new Ora Pharm app, which uses OnTracka technology to support medicinal cannabis patients (and their doctors) to track and manage their symptoms, dosing, impact on other medications and key health and lifestyle factors.”

In Latin America, On Tracka is working with Peruvian cannabis company CannaMundo.

President Mario Illanes said the partnership will help educate patients and provide prescribing doctors with credible data about how their patients respond to medical cannabis for pain, anxiety, sleep disorders and epilepsy.

And in the US, the company has teamed up with plant-based medicine research and formulation firm Holos Bioscience.

CEO Kurt Kucera said the deal will “empower our clinician partners with in-depth data collection to better understand the effects of our medicines in real-time while also expediting our research”.