ELCA in the Press - 24 April 2018

ELCA developed with BFH and USZ “Ally App” for allergy sufferers

ELCA developed the core of the biggest Swiss scientific study regarding pollen allergy: The Ally App

“This project was a perfect fit for ELCA: a challenge in terms of usability, mobile technology and development speed mixed with a topic that improves many people’s lifes” states Bertil Maire, who leads ELCA’s activities in Switzerland in the field of CRM, Mobile and UX and who participated to the project setup with BFH.

More than two Million allergy sufferers in Switzerland live a hard life: they have to avoid contacting the allergenic substances not to risk an attack. It might be easy to avoid substances – but what about pollen allergy? They are everywhere.

BFH (Berner Fachhochschule) and USZ (Universitätsspital Zürich) launched the to date biggest Swiss scientific study regarding pollination allergy. The core element of this study is the “Ally App” which was developed by ELCA and will be launched free on April 24 (www.allyscience.ch). ELCA was the competence partner for developing the app, indicating bad environmental conditions for allergy sufferers and at the same time collecting data to improve therapies.

To make this app a success, the user experience is an important aspect. The app must be easy to use without training and the entry of symptoms should be really quick to encourage people to participate. Spring is high pollination season; the project started in early 2018 and thus “time to market” was an important aspect. The application therefore was developed using cross platform technology – one single application for all devices, serving each operating system.

The app is available in all four Swiss languages and in English and can be used intuitively. Registered users get pollination prognosis and further information about their allergy. The data of all participants are collected and encrypted. They will be stored on the highly secure MIDATA platform.

MIDATA is a non-profit and cooperative institution co-founded by ETH professor Ernst Hafen. Every participant decides on his own if and by whom the data in anonymous form might be used for scientific research (where it is obvious that more participants mean better data base which gives more precise help back to sufferers.)

The collected data help to improve the early warning systems for allergy sufferers as well as therapies: in which region today the pollenflug is how active, where is the fine dust load heavy or which weather situation may we expect? METEO, also partner in this multidisciplinary project, provides its pollenflug forecast map.

If an allergy sufferer fills in the ”personal allergy diary” in the app with data regarding his personal daily health condition, a map will arise showing the correlation of allergy sympthoms and the weather or other environmental conditions. This may help to foresee personal attacks as well as to generate new insights for improving therapies.

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