Harnessing a tidal wave of wearable tech and sorting the wheat from the chaff is vitally important... There are so many devices and programmes that have been 'validated' in handfuls of patients before attention switches to the 'next best thing'. But perhaps the regulatory bodies share a large proportion of the blame for this... the red tape that impedes the possibility of high throughput testing and validation. We need better strategies for getting good tools to the patient market place and clinical setting quickly so that we can ride this wave rather than trail in its wake...
IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2015 Jul 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Pasluosta C, Gassner H, Winkler J, Klucken J, Eskofier B.
Current challenges demand a profound restructuration of the global healthcare system. A more efficient system is required to cope with the growing world population and increased life expectancy, which is associated with a marked prevalence of chronic neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease. One possible approach to meet this demand is a laterally distributed platform such as the Internet of Things. Real time motion metrics in Parkinson's disease could be obtained in virtually any scenario by placing lightweight wearable sensors in the patient's clothes, and connecting them to a medical database through mobile devices such as cell phones or tablets. Technologies exist to collect huge amounts of patient data not only during regular medical visits, but also at home during activities of daily life. These data could be fed into intelligent algorithms to first discriminate relevant threatening conditions, adjust medications based on online obtained physical deficits, and facilitate strategies to modify disease progression. A major impact of this approach lies in its efficiency, by maximizing resources and drastically improving the patient experience. The patient participates actively in disease management via combined objective device- and self-assessment and by sharing information within both medical and peer groups. Here, we review and discuss the existing wearable technologies and the Internet of Things concept applied to Parkinson's disease with an emphasis on how this technological platform may lead to a shift in paradigm in terms of diagnostics and treatment.