Mobile App Debuts to Help Doctors Treat Parkinson’s Patients

10/19/2011

NPF's Vice President and CIO, Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., comments on the Parkinson's Toolkit, a mobile app NPF designed to help doctors treat Parkinson's. Read the full article from medGadget below.


A new mobile app has been introduced for physicians who treat patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Designed to help clinicians diagnose and treat the condition at the point of care, the software is known as the Parkinson’s Toolkit. The free mobile device app was created by the National Parkinson Foundation. Available from the iTunes store and the Android Market, the app is also offered with a companion website.
 
The second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease affects an estimated 1 million individuals in the United States. Internationally, the disease is thought to affect 4–6 million individuals over the age of 50. That number is expected to double by the year 2030, according to research at the University of Rochester.  Most clinicians, however, encounter a limited number of Parkinson’s patients per year, making it difficult to keep up with the latest research in the field. Complicating matters is the difficulty of accurately diagnosing and effectively treating the disease.
 
The Parkinson’s Toolkit application is designed to inform a clinician regarding the condition including key issues in clinical practice, planning, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and billing information.
 
Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., CIO and vice president, programs of the National Parkinson Foundation, told Medgadget that the layout of the app’s homepage illustrates how the app is set up. “We have focused on the three key ways that physicians consume information,” he explains. First, that physicians can use the app to help them plan what to cover before a patient visit. “Second, for during the visit, we address issues that might arise — what the symptoms are, how the disease is diagnosed, and what medications are used,” he says. “Finally, we provide an index and detailed information for after the visit.”
 
Schmidt points to examples from the companion website to further illustrate the kind of information that is offered. For instance, a page explains what Tremor is and what to do about it.
 
As for treatment, a page on Levodopa, provides information on a drug commonly used to treat the condition. “Note that the ‘key facts’ and ‘clinical best practices’ are things that a physician could absorb in just a few seconds, but very detailed information is provided as well,” Schmidt says.
 
The Follow-up Visit page follows a similar approach,” he adds. It is designed to offer “quick information at the top of the page in case the provider has 15 seconds in the hallway before walking into an exam room and detailed information below for what our interviews showed was a common use-case,” he adds. Schmidt adds that this type of information could prove helpful for a physician who, after seeing a patient “is unsatisfied with how the encounter went, and goes to do some research after.”

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