Notwithstanding the Five Year Forward View, the National Health Service (NHS) is facing very similar challenges to many other healthcare systems around the world. Caring for an aging population, the rise in reactive conditions, the growing number of chronic disease cases; if there was ever a time where innovation and technology could help support our already stressed-infrastructure, this is it.
Whether it’s technology-driven doctor’s offices, medical advice via smartphone, diagnoses powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or IoT-designed care facilities, we’re now starting to see how technology can lead to life-changing innovations within the healthcare sector. Looking beyond the benefits for patients, can this technology also help to ease the pressure on our healthcare services?
Parkinson’s Disease affects more than 120,000 people in the UK. Until recently, clinicians relied on direct observations, clinical assessment protocols and patient recall tests, typically done during a consultation. Considering the fluctuating nature of Parkinson’s Disease, patients can at times find this difficult leading to a care model that cannot objectively measure symptoms.
The Parkinson’s KinetiGraph™ (PKG), developed by Global Kinetics Corporation, is helping to provide an accurate and proactive solution. Made-up of a non-invasive wearable device, proprietary cloud-based algorithms and a data-driven reporting function, the PKG could soon lead to reduced hospital visits and more accurate symptom analysis. By using the PKG, clinicians can more accurately support patients whose symptoms would usually result in a hospital visit whereas patients can feel more empowered to take charge of their own care with medication routines tailored to their condition and lifestyle.
A recent study in 2016 suggested that the PKG could also help identify patients whose symptoms weren’t yet fully present and would have gone undiagnosed in the previous care model. Whilst our fight for a cure continues, the key to helping many lives is prevention. If we can diagnose before a condition leads a patient to hospital, we can more effectively manage their symptoms whilst helping to ease the pressure on our medical infrastructure.
By developing solutions like the PKG, we can tackle problems from both sides. A proactive approach to patient diagnoses could see a corresponding reduction in hospital admissions, whilst solutions aimed at streamlining medical practices can lead to refined patient journeys. The symbiotic relationship between medical care and technology is key to helping us grow our health service in line with the advances of surgical intelligence, telemedicine, wearables and AI.