Researchers at the Royal United Hospital Bath are helping to develop a special app that allows arthritis patients to monitor their symptoms on a smartphone.
A partnership between the health-tech company Living With, the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH), and the University of Bath has been awarded a major grant to develop a Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Profiler.
The award, from Innovate UK, will allow rheumatoid arthritis patients to use new methods capturing key disease activity data using smartphones, which will support clinicians to be able to classify and optimise care pathways.
The aim of the Flare Profiler is to demonstrate how better monitoring can provide earlier detection of issues, allow more timely clinical intervention and over time reduce need for costly acute treatments.
It also aims to reduce the stress and need for patients to travel to hospital during treatment for specialist tests.
Jane Carter, Research Manager Development at the RNHRD/RUH, said: “The Trust has an established international reputation for research and expertise in rheumatology.
“We are always looking at ways to further improve the care and treatments we can offer patients. Clinical input into the project is provided by Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Bashaar Boyce.
“Using the latest technology and artificial intelligence is an exciting development. We are very excited to be part of this innovative project.”
Living With is developing the Flare Profiler in partnership with the RUH Trust’s Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), which is the internationally leading centre of excellence for rheumatic conditions, and University of Bath’s Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA), a leader in developing and evaluating new digital technologies such as the use of video, sound and motion for clinical application.
“We’re thrilled to have won an Innovate UK grant,’ said Living With’s CEO Chris Robson.
“This will transform the way patients with rheumatoid arthritis can be monitored intelligently between appointments and hopefully help the NHS reduce the cost of treating patients with RA. It also adds a transformational new capability to our existing Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis product.”
CAMERA was created to help further and transfer the knowledge developed within computer science, often targeting the entertainment industries, to other sectors such as healthcare.
CAMERA Director, Prof. Darren Cosker, said: “This is a great project. Being able to take some of the computer vision techniques we developed for hand tracking for animation and transferring it into a condition monitoring platform that can operate in a person’s home is a very positive use of technology and exactly the kind of work we should all be doing.”
The Flare Profiler will test a unique range of patient data sources including video and thermal imaging technology.
The project will then analyse patient data using cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning technology to group patient disease activity patterns and identify the most effective treatment pathways for them.