In the future, patients will become even more involved in the observation and monitoring of their own health or illnesses. For example, blood pressure can be checked 24 hours a day using a blood pressure cuff at home. "This is the classic example," notes Professor Dr. Thomas Kubiak.
"The data that we can obtain about the everyday lives of our patients is really a very important kind of information," says Thomas Kubiak. This kind of data has an enhanced 'ecological validity.' Real-life information about moods, stress, symptoms, blood pressure, hormone levels, and many other biologic or environment-related factors can be collected. According to Kubiak, these new techniques have gained in momentum over the last decade, even if they have yet to arrive in the offices of general practitioners or internists. The dissemination process is sure to speed up even more now thanks to the widespread use of new communication instruments, such as smartphones. For example, these devices can be used for documentation purposes such as in an activity study, where a phone call at specific times during the day prompts a patient to complete a questionnaire the results of which are then linked to GPS data. This kind of 'electronic diary' can be very useful as it can have preventive or therapeutic benefits for the patient. Pharmaceutical companies also benefit as these new instruments can be used effectively in clinical trials of their products.
Petra Giegerich | idw
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