8 pm Talk Tonight and Mobile Apps Are Changing How People With Parkinson’s Can Monitor Their Healthcare

 pexels-photo-50614 mobile deviceTonight at 8 PM, Please Join me for my Live talk on Facebook on this topic How Mobile Apps are a Great Tool for People with Parkinson’s disease.

I was at the doctor’s getting an annual check-up when I noticed a number of posters and ads about healthcare apps to monitor, track and report symptoms.

In the lab where I went to get blood work done there were several more for monitoring your blood levels, recording immunizations shots for the family and reporting results back to your physician.

With more advanced data becoming available, it is estimated that by the year 2020, 70% of the world will have smartphones and 90% will be covered by broadbent networks allowing more opportunities for people to access digital information readily available and track their healthcare with mobile health-based  apps.

According to a study by Imaging Technology News Online, in the US the majority of smartphone users already include at least one health app on their phones and most users prefer these resources over contacting their physician. Presently, we see a large population across all age groups wearing a Fitbit device that monitors physical activity, sleep patterns and tracking symptoms.

In the past, physicians kept health care information private, undisclosed and did not clearly explain details of the problem. In the digital world, consumers can get a lot of health information in detail faster and  feel more in control of their health, collect the proper data and be well informed before approaching their physician. This is becoming the norm in many sectors yet a more holistic approach to healthcare can be applied through mobile health apps.

It is important to note that an accurate diagnosis still has to be made by a qualified doctor first rather than relying on sites that may not provide valid information and can be misleading for many people.

Currently, millennials are leading the way using a wearable device to track their health symptoms versus the baby boomer age 66 plus that will traditionally rely on doctor-patient contact.

The main areas of monitoring are in:

  • tracking diet and nutrition
  • medication reminders
  • tracking symptoms
  • physical activity

Another area for healthcare apps are in brain health to improve memory, verbal and numerical reasoning and tracking prescriptions management, hospital check in and clinical trials or their doctor’s monitoring progress.

Wearable devices are also becoming the rage with a range of capabilities that can benefit users in areas of hearing aids for hearing loss, cardiac activity monitors and temperature monitoring devices.

Specifically for Parkinson’s patients (and people living with major illnesses), apps provide tremendous benefits for interacting with a device that gives back directions for tracking symptoms, medications, offering challenging mind games for increasing cognitive function and improving voice tones and modulations. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include  hand tremors, low voice tone and difficulty speaking, imbalance gait and posture, depression and sleeplessness.

There are the secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s that are non-motor related in which health care apps are perfectly situated. They can help with anxiety and depression, sleep insomnia, other movement disorders, mind health and regulating  exercise. They can also be used for just having fun and relaxation  taking a break from always being focused on your illness.  Apps also offer ideas about different exercise routines, walking routes, relaxation and sleep sounds and other creative outlets.

The major challenge will be to enter all your data daily so it keeps track of all your activity and be able to share it with your healthcare team.

Here are a sample of a few apps that come from Parkinson’s organizations and individual reviews:

Beats Medical  Parkinson’s Treatment App

This app provides several training modalities. The first modality is a daily hand dexterity training that helps improve coordination. Another section of the app is focused on speech and language difficulties with daily exercises,  real-time feedback, tracking progress and historical reports.

Parkinson mPower App 

Using the iPhone’s sensors to measure and track patients’ symptoms, including tremor, balance and gait, the app tracks and stores this information via specially designed activities. Memory game, finger tapping, speaking and walking are some of the ways data is gathered.

Parkinson’s Central

Developed by the National Parkinson’s Foundation

  • Includes “Near Me’ resources option from wherever you are and when you need it.
  • How to make the most out of your doctor’s visits
  • Tips about insurance and finance
  • Special caregiver content

Parkinson’s Speech Aid

The Parkinson’s Speech Aid app was developed and designed to recreate the ‘choral speech effect’, by replaying the user’s speech with a slight delay and change in pitch. Choral speech is when one or more people are speaking in unison with each other at the same time. This app will allow the user to speak in unison with themselves (at a slight delay and change in pitch) which will reduce the rate of speaking and thereby reduce the number of repetitions. The use of this effect while speaking has been shown to improve speech in people who stutter or those who struggle with speech issues from other conditions such as Parkinson’s, Autism, Tourette’s and others.

Insight Timer

Over 3000 meditation options to access for a variety of situations from sleep, relaxation or activity. I use this one and find it helpful.

Parkinson’s Home Exercise

A video app that demonstrates over 50 Parkinson’s-friendly exercises and covers a wide range of movement topics like walking, posture, balance and flexibility.

Sleep Machine-has a free and paid App (paid App has more sounds) made to lull you to sleep. Select from a variety of sounds to send you off to lala-land. Crickets, wind chimes, and pouring rain are just a few of the many soothing sounds from which to choose.  PD patients can face sleep problems that only exacerbate our symptoms when we aren’t totally refreshed.

PillPack

The idea of this app sounds very interesting because my brother who has Parkinson’s lives in a hospital and gets his meds this way and it’s really efficient.

PillPack is a prescription-by-mail service that puts your medications into date-and-time stamped single packets that come out of a dispenser in the order you should take them. Each packet is also labeled with the name and dosage of each medication and any additional instructions, such as “take with food.” PillPack works with your healthcare provider to get your prescriptions automatically refilled four weeks before your supply runs out. You can also add in self-prescribed vitamins and supplements, such as fish oil and multivitamins. The cost all depends on the price of your medications, with no additional shipping fees whatsoever. Cost based on prices of medications and co-pays

 

Map My Walk – GPS

A fitness tracking application with a built-in GPS that tracks all of your fitness activities. It records workout details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route traveled on an interactive map.

 

Puzzles/ Games

Peak Training

Brain Training will work your brain into top shape using more than 30 fun games. The games were all developed by neurosurgeons and are meant to challenge your cognitive skills. Play this app every day in short sessions and help improve your cognitive skills. The app adjusts to your skill level and provides you with in-depth performance analytics so you can track your progress. The games will challenge your Emotion Control, Attention, Memory, Mental Agility, Language, Creativity, and Problem Solving. The app is free but you can upgrade to a Pro account and get personalized workouts, more stats and insights, and unlimited access to all of the games.

  • Challenge your brain
  • Learn where you excel and areas you need to work on
  • More than 30 fun games

 

 

Mind Games

A new gaming app, specially designed for people with Parkinson’s disease, aims to measure various cognitive functions through a series of games – and gather data for neurologists to track.

As the user plays a series of multi-levelled mini games to stimulate the mind, the app called ‘Cognitia PD’ collects data on memory and reaction times based on the game results.

 

UnBlock Me

Unblock Me FREE is a fun and addictive puzzle game. The goal is to unblock the red block out of the board by sliding the other blocks out of the way, unblock it with the minimal moves. Unblock Me FREE comes with 4 difficulties ranging from Beginner to Expert. There are 15000 puzzles in total, the highest amount of puzzles you’ll find in any game, worth hundreds of hours to keep you challenged and addicted.

 

Parkinson’s Apps and Devices Rating Scale (MARS-PARK)

If you are using healthcare apps for Parkinson’s, the Queensland University of Technology would like your feedback on which are the most user friendly and effective use of different technology in the Parkinson’s arena.While each person is unique and will use an app differently, they would like would like to hear from you!.

 

I know I’ve tried a few to monitor my calorie intake, exercise and dieting plan, but daily it was challenging to be disciplined about not only being honest but accurately entering content when the amounts were not the same ones that the app included. I was often left frustrated and resorted back to pen and paper.

 

References

P.S. Join our Facebook group Living with Parkinson’s, Community and Resources and post your experiences and questions.

Enjoy your week and in good health,

Rani