eHealth partnership pioneers digital monitoring

Research partnerships between private sector organisations and academia can produce innovative ideas for healthcare and patients.

Through its novel use of technology this Cornish project will help to uncover the links between exercise and Ankylosing Spondylitis, a poorly understood and potentially debilitating medical condition.

Commonly known as AS, this chronic inflammatory disease can affect the spine and other joints. Symptoms include severe pain and stiffness which can progressively worsen until the bones in the spine fuse together.

Researchers at the Centre are working with myClinicalOutcomes – a digital healthcare specialist, to monitor the condition and understand how patients can manage their symptoms effectively.

The team have developed a web-based system to capture information about symptoms, exercise and other everyday physical activities. The tool will allow participants to follow their own progress on a weekly basis and is initially focusing on the impact physical activity can have on the disease.

Physical therapy is among the treatments commonly used to help patients with AS keep mobile, yet the effectiveness of exercise as a treatment is not entirely clear. The research team are hoping this pilot study will provide a clearer picture of the impact exercise can have, and make recommendations for future management.

myClinicalOutcomes has played a crucial role in this project, using their expertise in developing tools for clinicians to inform both this and the next phase of the study. The organisation has also gained a valuable insight into the capture of data for academic research.

“We’ve enjoyed collaborating with the research team at the European Centre, using our skills and expertise to develop a working research tool.”

The team hope that the web-based tool will eventually allow clinicians to observe, monitor and assess AS patients’ needs remotely; providing a level of care that isn’t currently available in this group of patients.

Dan Williams, Co-founder of myClinicalOutcomes said:

This project is giving us invaluable experience in gathering and analysing data in this patient group. We’ve enjoyed collaborating with the research team at the European Centre, using our skills and expertise to develop a working research tool. We’re hopeful our results will help to improve care for AS patients and provide further proof that technology can help us treat chronic illnesses.

You can find out more about this research here