Act instead of react with ParkProReakt

Project timeline: Nov. 2021 - Oct. 2024

Funding: €3.8 million from the German "Gemeinsamen Bundesausschuss"

Partners: 9

Project coordinator: Klinik für Neurologie Universitätsklinikum Gießen & Marburg

Tasks of Fraunhofer FIT: Design of a mobile app for tracking patient values and testing the user-friendliness of the app

Marion Koch is a general practitioner and runs a small clinic in a suburb of Bonn. Like many of her colleagues, she cares for patients suffering from Parkinson's disease - currently around 400,000 people in Germany alone. In the past, she depended on her patients coming to her clinic for regular checkups, so that she could identify new symptoms and adjust treatment. Today, she do this by simply glancing at her laptop: on the ParkProReakt web platform, she can view patient data and contact them directly in case of abnormalities – proactively instead of reactively.

The problem: an irregular course of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's is a complex disease with symptoms unique to every individual. Therefore, the neurodegenerative nature of the disease does not progress for Parkinson’s patients uniformly. It is impossible to predict how the disease will develop from the time it is first diagnosed. For this reason, regular, comprehensive monitoring of patients is necessary in order to be able to react quickly to changes in symptoms.

To do this, doctors need insights into the everyday lives of their patients. Since the journey to the doctor's office is challenging for many patients, examinations sometimes take place only once a quarter. In addition, new symptoms are often not recognized due to a lack of knowledge of the patients themselves, or their relatives. As a result, these symptoms are not passed on to the attending physicians.

The solution: insights into the everyday lives of patients’ with technical aids

This is where ParkProReakt comes in. Through the course of the project, Fraunhofer FIT and the project partners are working to develop a web platform, which is intended to provide extensive knowledge about Parkinson's disease. On the digital platform, patients can not only exchange information with their doctors, but also receive support for self-help.

In addition, a mobile application will be developed in conjunction with a wearable (e.g., a smartwatch), to track certain values of patients and transmit them directly to the attending physician. Instead of waiting for new information, doctors can react proactively to even the smallest deviations in the clinical picture. In doing so, they can adapt the treatment of patients individually, notice symptom changes at an early stage, and provide them with information as needed. These are some of the many advantages of ParkProReakt which would help to positively influence the course of the disease.

Improved quality of life through digital transformation

With ParkProReakt, the project partners aim to investigate whether a digital solution can help to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson's disease. In the long term, the results of digitally supported treatment may also pave the way for other chronic diseases.

Fraunhofer FIT is taking on the role of application designer for ParkProReakt and developing the interface of the mobile application. To ensure that it optimally supports Parkinson's patients in tracking their disease progression, FIT also tests the usability of the app and adapts it to their needs. In addition to Fraunhofer FIT, the following partners are involved in the project: MVB Telemed GmbH, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Philipps-University Marburg, Practice for Neurology and Psychiatry Hamburg Walddörfer, Techniker Krankenkasse, Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen, University of Cologne and the University of Lübeck.