Staying mobile in old age firstly allows people to remain independent and additionally serves as a predictor of later health-related outcomes. Mobility is often referred to as the «sixth vital sign». Thus, tracking elderly people’s mobility allows to detect areas where they are restricted and to take measures for targeted intervention. Such intervention could potentially better or even reverse mobility restrictions, which not only induces positive effects on the lives of the affected person but additionally inhibits economic losses through e.g. lower health expenditures.
Modern technologies such as smart phones and location based services (e.g. GPS) provide possibilities to collect data on and measure mobility in old age. However, as no clinical applications have been developed to exploit these technologies, the potential goes to waste.
The porject MobitecGP (Mobility assessment with modern technology in older patient’s real-life by the general practitioner) aims at developing a smartphone app, which gives General Practitioners the possibility to track their elderly patient’s mobility data. Equipping the test group with a specially developed device which records voices and keeps a record on their spatial movements, allows general practitioners to quantify and determine their patients’ health and mobility development over time.
Through the improved knowledge due to improved data accessibility, the general practitioners are able to recognize needs and make tailor-made recommendations. The combined measures should better the patients’ life by prolonging the mobility and thus, independence.
The researchers aim at developing a smart phone app for doctors, which will be free of cost. The app should bring plentiful advantages:
- Providing doctors with data they normally could not gather and allow for targeted measures
- Enabling patients to work on their mobility for an overall better quality of life
- Enhancing decision-making when it is time for life changes such as moving to a nursing home
- Substantially lowering health expenditures thanks to the early-stage detection and intervention for prolonged mobility
Collecting health and mobility data of a test group and compiling a large data set will help to develop the envisioned smart phone application.