Telefónica, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and the Quirón Teknon hospital today (23 April 2015) showcased the crucial role that telematics has played in their collective research into the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.
The revolutionary REMPARK ‘Holter Monitor’ monitoring device is worn around the patient’s waist and remotely transmits all information connected to their motor symptoms. Built in sensors and a Bluetooth interface allow it to process and transfer all the information to a smartphone, giving physicians a truly personalised, real-time view of the patient’s condition.
Telefónica manages the EU financed European REMPARK telemedicine project. It is co-ordinated by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and involves the participation of the Quirón Teknon Hospital along with the European Parkinson's Disease Association (EPDA).
For the last three years it has been studying the evolution of 40 Parkinson's patients in Spain, Italy, Ireland and Israel using a remote control and tele-monitoring system – all running on Telefónica’s remote management platform.
Joan Cabestany, a professor at the UPC, explained: “The doctors participating in this project believe REMPARK to be a big step forward in managing Parkinson's disease. We intend to keep investing and working on the sensor so that we can release it commercially as soon as possible and ensure that it's compatible with EU regulations on primary healthcare devices.”
The treatment of Parkinson’s disease is symptomatic, and detailed knowledge of patients' motor state is fundamental to optimise their treatment and improve their quality of life. Through non-invasive monitoring of motor-functions, it becomes possible for patients to self-manage their disease more easily, allowing physicians to adapt and personalise each patient's treatment based on their changing symptoms.
The REMPARK system has a central server where all data sent by the device is securely and responsibly stored, processed and analysed in order to track long-term evolution as well as significant patterns and trends.
The sensor has proven to be 87% accurate in correctly identifying the presence of motor skills, and to have 100% success in correctly identifying the lack of motor skills when these are not present.
“Implementing this system as a diagnostic and follow-up tool for Parkinson’s Disease will contribute to improving the European healthcare system by providing better quality, more personalised care to patients while making better use of public resources,” said Jaume Raventós, Telefónica Spain's eHealth director.
He continued: “The role that technology plays in disease self-managing is obvious. The imminent progress resulting from including ICT technologies in disease management is a fact that no one can turn their back on.”
Telefónica is working to integrate its remote management services into healthcare systems with the aim to increase patients' level of independence, improve disease management and reduce non-critical hospital admissions. Healthcare telematics will provide bespoke, accurate healthcare according to the patient's state, providing key medical and social benefits.