Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) is reportedly conducting internal research into whether its iPhone and Apple Watch could be used to monitor drug dosage and wellness data for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The company hopes to show the effectiveness of mobile monitoring, sources told Fast Company.
Patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease may only visit their doctor at 6-month intervals, which can lead to improper dosing if their condition improves or worsens. Apple’s efforts are led by Stephen Friend, according to the news outlet. Friend is a former member of Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit that provides tools for biomedical research.
Other tech companies, like Samsung (KRX:005935), are also interested in understanding how mobile technology could be used to diagnose and monitor patients with Parkinson’s disease. Roche (PINK:RHHBY) is using a Samsung smartphone to collect data on participants in a Parkinson’s disease clinical trial between visits.
Neurologist Diana Blum told Fast Company that there are quantifiable metrics that healthcare professionals and researchers can track to better understand a patient’s condition.
“You could use mobile technology to monitor tremors and slowness—and maybe even stiffness and balance, but that’s more complicated,” Blum told the news outlet.
Some Parkinson’s patients do not have prominent tremors, which would make it difficult to track movement using a smartphone. But other patients, monitoring the severity of tremors and walking speed could be an important way to track their condition between visits to the doctor.