Michael Rowling, the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Business Development for ProtoKinetics, has published an article in the industry publication Lower Extremity Review on the importance of paying attention to real-world metrics when using gait analysis systems to collect further data on patients who have Parkinson’s disease, and other medical conditions, which would impair their mobility. According to Mr. Rowling, “there is a need to measure things that matter,” and as such, special focus should be placed on analyzing gait and balance in a way that meaningfully correlates with daily activities.
According to Mr. Rowling, there are two fundamental reasons why clinicians and researchers should be using gait analysis software to implement properly validated measures. The first is that “real-world data and real-world evidence play an increasingly important role in healthcare decision-making,” and the other is that the FDA uses this data and evidence to monitor for potential safety issues, as well as helping to make regulatory decisions.
Additionally, those who work in the healthcare field, on both the clinical and business sides of things, need this data in order “to develop guidelines and decision-support tools for use in clinical practice.” In other words, significant decisions about a patient’s coverage and their treatment could be derived from this data. As such, it is important that the collection of this data in a meaningful fashion is something that is treated with the utmost seriousness.
Mr. Rowling strongly believes that research should focus on the ability to accurately record and portray the patient’s ability to undertake the same kind of activities that they would regularly do in their day to day lives. As a result, he states that “clinicians need to appropriately measure the necessary components of gait and balance.” In other words, the activities that are being used to collect this data must actually simulate the real world and go beyond simple straight-line walking tests. By doing so, clinicians and researchers will be able to collect data that can actually have a meaningful impact on the patient’s life.
Mr. Rowling also calls for more veracity and reliability where the use of wearable instruments are concerned, as well as the algorithms that allow them to collect data. He states that many of them “have not yet achieved robust and reliable levels,” and that “The specificity and sensitivity of these algorithms may provide false positives/negatives for different populations.” He strongly believes that synthesizing accurate data is “essential to realizing the promise of outcomes-driven healthcare.”