Digital therapeutics to target neurological conditions
Common neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease impact the lives of over 1 billion people around the world, with no known cure for many of the complex conditions. These conditions can hugely impact day-to-day quality of life, affecting walking, speech and the ability to complete daily tasks. Although unmanaged symptoms are a challenge, many patients face problems accessing care due to waiting lists, costs and lack of services. This also places a burden on families and hospital systems. “No two people with the same condition, experience the same symptoms,” explains BeatsDigTherapeutics project coordinator Ciara Clancy from Beats Medical in Ireland. “There is a clear need for accessible assessments and individually prescribed exercises, to provide people with the specialised care they need.”
Digital therapeutic applications
To address these challenges, Clancy founded Beats Medical in 2012, aiming to digitise clinically proven assessments and therapies based on physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy approaches. This move was inspired by her work as a physiotherapist in a hospital. Clancy recognised the need to bring these exercises out of the hospital setting and into the home, in a simple, engaging way through mobile phones. Beats Medical deployed their core technology to launch a Parkinson’s application, with exercises for walking, speech and hands. The company then released an application for children with dyspraxia, a paediatric condition that impacts the development of speech, coordination and movement skills.
Treating neurological conditions
The goal of this EU-funded project was to scale beyond this initial success, after seeing the impact that digital therapeutics can have on the future of healthcare, and most importantly, the impact it can have on the lives of people around the world. “What means the most to us, is what people can do with our technology,” notes Clancy. This was achieved by taking a platform-based approach to the technology, scaling across mobile operating systems. The core technology can be deployed in multiple solutions, for a variety of neurological conditions and rare diseases. Each of these deployments delivers a specific combination of automated assessments and individualised, progressive exercises, using only a smartphone device. This makes it easy for people worldwide to avail of this game-changing innovation. In turn, this helps to better understand and support patients.
Individualised assessments and therapies
The success of this project represents an important landmark in digital therapeutics. It has demonstrated that such technology is feasible to implement and can transform the lives of patients and the healthcare industry. Clancy and her team expect that people with these conditions, their families and loved ones, will benefit greatly from this work. The patient-focused solution offers assessments and individually prescribed exercises, every day and everywhere, helping them to manage their individual condition with confidence. The commercialised deployments of this platform technology have already seen success. Applications are currently used by people in over 30 countries. Public and private reimbursements allow users to access regular care at a lower cost. Beats Medical now partners with key players in the healthcare market, such as pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers, to continue to expand across conditions and geographies. “We are only at the tip of the iceberg in what we want to achieve,” says Clancy. “We aim to continue to provide digital therapeutics, which will help advance understanding and potential through strong partnerships to unlock therapies of the future.”
BeatsDigTherapeutics, neurological, medical, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hospital