Photo of Prof. ReichmannDr. med. KlingelhöferDr. med. Lisa Klingelhöfer and Prof. Heinz Reichmann are medical partners of the i-PROGNOSIS project working at the Technische Universitat Dresden (TUD). They share with us their perspective on the project.

 

What is your role in i-PROGNOSIS?

We are neurologists and represent the Department of Neurology of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany as one of the three medical centers in the i-PROGNOSIS project. We are providing our medical expertise as physicians in the field of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, we provide advice concerning the known motor and non-motor symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s, the natural course of the disease as a slowly progressive disorder starting mainly with non-motor symptoms such as mood problems, sleep and gastrointestinal disorders followed by motor symptoms which are decisive for the diagnosis.

Furthermore, all i-PROGNOSIS study participants will be offered the possibility to make an appointment at one of the medical centers for further information if the data being collected from their interaction with their smartphone is in a way different from the general mean data or changes over time. These participants will have the opportunity to undergo a medical examination and if necessary we will initiate further investigations. This provides a first attempt of very early detection of non-motor and motor symptoms being associated with Parkinson’s.

As physicians, what benefits can mobile apps bring to your work?

Mobile apps provide the opportunity of a remote monitoring of several symptoms over a longer time period. This is completely different to data collected in a laboratory setting where the participant only performs artificial tests and is completely conscious of the data collection. Also, the snap shot of symptoms that can be covered in a short outpatient appointment does only represent one point in time.

Yet Parkinson’s is on the one hand slowly progressive over years, presents motor and non-motor fluctuations during the day and has a wide range of different symptoms being weighted differently in each individual patient. In such a disease, it is necessary to obtain information to capture the whole picture of the individual impairments. This is especially important for us as physicians to advise the patient in the right way and to target the most important symptoms to provide treatment. A mobile app offers hereby the incredible possibility to receive information about several symptoms over a longer time period without interfering in the daily activities and therefore helps us to optimize treatment.

From a medical perspective, what are the precautions that need to be taken when introducing ICT devices into health management?

From our perspective, it is an absolute need to make sure that you know what you observe with an ICT device to avoid any misleading conclusions. Therefore, in our opinion it is of utmost importance to develop technologies in a frame such as i-PROGNOSIS. This has the big advantage that the development is performed by technical partners in close cooperation with medical teams. Furthermore, when first testing the device, the possibility to obtain a medical expert opinion in case of any symptom detection should be provided as it is the case in i-PROGNOSIS! This is important to make sure that the device in the long run only recognizes relevant medical symptoms.

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