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New app to help arthritis patients manage flare-ups

Friday 31st May 2019
Rheumatoid arthritis patients will now be able to track their symptoms using an app, which will help optimise their treatment.
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Chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to treat at times, as every patient has different needs and the symptoms can progress and change over time. To improve the effectiveness of patients’ treatment options, a new app is being developed that will help users track their arthritis flare-ups and support healthcare professionals to optimise their care.

The Flare Profiler app is being developed by tech firm Living With, alongside the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust’s Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and the University of Bath's Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA).

This group has just been awarded a major grant to develop the Flare Profiler by Innovate UK. It is hoped this investment will save the NHS money in the future by cheaply and effectively optimising care for rheumatoid arthritis patients. It will also make it easier for healthcare professionals by monitoring symptoms between appointments.

CAMERA developed a lot of the technology going into the app, such as computer vision techniques. These were originally used to track hands for animation, but have been repurposed to assist with measuring arthritis flare-ups.

The app will track a range of different data from patients. It will make use of video and thermal imaging technology to help measure each flare-up. The project will then analyse this data using a combination of AI and machine learning to assess patterns in the data and determine the best possible treatment.

Jane Carter, research and development manager at the RNHRD, said: “The Trust has an established international reputation for our research and expertise in rheumatology. We are always looking at ways to further improve the care and treatments we can offer patients. Using the latest technology and artificial intelligence is an exciting development. We are very excited to be part of this innovative project.”

Written by Matthew Horton

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