"The original plan was just to validate the software against the standard medical walk test," Schatz said, "but we looked at other data and found that it matched well with a pulmonary function test called FEV1. Predicting FEV1 is useful because that's the standard number used to determine treatment. That's worth a lot to a health system."
Schatz envisions the GaitTrack app running constantly in the background as a patient carries a phone. The phone would periodically collect data, analyze it and keep tabs on the patient's status, alerting the patient or patient's doctor when it detects changes in gait that would indicate a decline in health so that treatment could be adjusted responsively.
The researchers now are testing GaitTrack in larger trials within health systems. Schatz hopes to have the app available for download within months.
"Population health measurement is the key to making health care viable. If you could just measure what people were doing all the time, then you could get enough information to make rational decisions," Schatz said.
|Contact: Liz Ahlberg|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign