The Parkinson’s Association of Ireland have made great changes over the last few months. With a new board in place we are looking to the future and seeking out new ideas for the betterment of our patients.
At the end of last year we became aware of a corporate initiative called the Alliance for Good Ireland. The Alliance for Good Ireland is an initiative whereby twelve of Ireland’s most prominent companies (Microsoft, Kingspan, Bank of Ireland, AIB, Aptiv, RTE, Mayo County Council, Oireachtas Ireland, Novartis, ESB, DCU and Pramerica) have come together to work on a challenge that can be improved or solved through the use of technology. It is a very exciting initiative and as a board we felt it was too good to pass up.
During the pandemic we became very aware of the difficulties our members have and how they have been heighted by the isolation of lockdown. For some, their symptoms have escalated. For others, the lack of access to some of our normal services such as social interaction through classes, has made them feel less confident and more isolated than ever.
To address some of the above, we decided to apply to the Alliance with the idea that we could use technology to keep people connected, improve access to information and support. Just before Christmas we submitted an application and some members of the board presented to the Alliance team and we were delighted to hear that we had been selected as the preferred partner for the project.
Over the last couple of months we have been working with the team from Alliance for Good Ireland on a Parkinson’s App concept. While still in its evolution, the possibilities of what this app could do for Parkinson’s patients is endless. For example, one aspect of the concept is taking health information from a smart wearable device, analyzing it and making it available to clinicians. Our hope is that it will help clinicians make earlier diagnosis and/or help manage the symptoms for Parkinson’s patients. It might also allow us to track the benefit of exercise in slowing the progress of the illness.
Today we kicked off the build phase of the project and I have to say, we have never met such a team of young people who very quickly understood what living with a chronic condition might be like. They related to the symptoms and were extremely sympathetic in their approach while doing their best to develop technology that will help our members. We are so excited to see where this project will go.