Patient Care with Wearables – Medical Device from Portabiles HealthCare Technologies supports Therapy of Parkinson Patients
Parkinson’s patients can look forward to more individual and better care in the future. With “Mobile GaitLab”, the start-up Portabiles HealthCare Technologies has developed an intelligent solution to support therapy decisions which is now certified as a medical device.
For CEO Ralph Steidl, this marks a decisive milestone: “Patients have repeatedly asked us when our “sensor shoe” may be used for their care outside of studies. Our answer: From now on – the certification makes it possible!”
Particularly in Parkinson’s Disease, the individual therapy adjustment is a big challenge and a lengthy process. In recent years, the start-up company and its partners have conducted intensive research to determine the quality of gait in patients’ everyday life and to develop a completely new care concept. The medical device certification proves the quality, benefit and safety of the solution and is an important mark of trust for the patient.
Gait monitoring supports therapy decisions
More specifically, “Mobile GaitLab” is a portable sensor system that continuously records the patient’s gait quality in their everyday life. Based on intelligent algorithms, the system computes clinically validated parameters that provide the treating physician and the patient himself with valuable information about the course of the disease and feedback on the effectiveness of a therapy. Many studies have shown that these gait parameters correlate very well with the relevant symptoms. “Since with Mobile GaitLab I will know how my patient is doing when he is not in the clinic for examination, I will be able to make a therapy decision much faster and, above all, treat him in a more targeted manner,” reports co-founder Prof. Jochen Klucken (University Hospital Erlangen). “I receive objective data that can reflect the state of health to me. And the patient can also use this information to better assess his or her own health and is increasingly becoming part of the joint treatment procedure,” Klucken continues. Patients will then be able to enjoy improved mobility and a better quality of life through a therapy that is individually tailored to their needs.
Prediction of symptoms possible
Technologically, co-founder Prof. Björn Eskofier (Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab, University Erlangen-Nürnberg) is already thinking about the next step: “With methods of machine learning and artificial intelligence, we will not only be able to describe the current state of health, but also predict disease-relevant symptoms such as freezing or an increased risk of falling”. Portabiles HealthCare Technologies is conducting intensive research on this topic in cooperation with academic partners in various projects. Step by step, these methods will also be integrated into the medical device and approved for use in healthcare in cooperation with be-on-market GmbH and MEDtech Ingenieur GmbH.
Mobile GaitLab was developed in a long and fruitful partnership with the University Hospital Erlangen (Molecular Neurology: Prof. Winkler, Prof. Klucken) and today’s Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab (Prof. Eskofier). With the research project “eGaIT – computer-aided biometric gait analysis”, the foundation for today’s success was already laid in 2011, at that time still under the leadership of the industry partner ASTRUM IT. A promising market response subsequently resulted in the foundation of today’s start-up Portabiles HealthCare Technologies GmbH.
In addition to the clinical and technical partners, numerous sponsors are also instrumental in the current success of the company. “Many thanks go to our investors EIT Health and Business Angels as well as the Bavarian Research Foundation, Bayern Innovativ, the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, State Development and Energy, the German Research Foundation, the Emerging Fields Initiative of University Erlangen-Nürnberg, ESA BIC, Fraunhofer Venture, Fraunhofer IIS, Medical Valley and Projektträger Bayern. They have all provided us with financial and strategic support in recent years, both in building up the company and in developing our products. Without these partners, we would not be where we are now,” sums up Ralph Steidl.