In the coming years, the U.S. will face an increase of people diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disorders as well as a shortage of neurologists. The fact is that hospital systems are already experiencing a lack of these specialists. That is creating bottlenecks for patients seeking an evaluation and those requiring care for ongoing neurological conditions.
How might we overcome barriers to build access?
Understanding current and future needs, the NeuroHealth Lab is discovering new ways to assess, identify and treat individuals with neurologic conditions sooner. It is transforming education to ensure medical students get the training they need to detect neurology issues. The lab is also seeking to enhance the quality of life for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other conditions that cause severe immobility.
In partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, the NeuroHealth Lab is creating new tools, devices, technology and models of care to achieve its goals. This could lead to earlier detection of certain conditions and interventions that change a person’s outcome for the better.
Next generation solutions
Digitizing the neurologic exam: When clinicians need to document neurologic exam findings, they create subjective verbal descriptions in the electronic medical record (EMR). This subjectivity causes other clinicians caring for the patient to question how to interpret those original findings or whether they have changed. The NeuroHealth Lab is developing a mobile device application to video record and objectively measure specific exam findings. This enables clinicians to accurately communicate and review results without concern for misinterpretation. The idea is, with better information, to be able to make diagnoses earlier and easily monitor a patient’s neurology conditions, regardless of location.
Task trainers: Learning to examine patients for possible neurological conditions is tough for medical students and residents, as they most likely will not encounter many individuals with these illnesses as part of their training. As a result, new physicians and other clinicians do not have the experience they need to recognize indicators of abnormal neurologic function. The NeuroHealth Lab has created four task trainers that replicate spasticity, rigidity, muscle weakness and clonus of the ankle. This will give medical students and residents consistent training experiences to identify these abnormalities.
Boosting mobility: Individuals with advanced ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders have limited to no movement ability, meaning they rely on caregivers to have their position shifted or be lifted. The NeuroHealth Lab is designing a bed mattress that can autonomously provide site-specific pressure relief and whole-body repositioning without the need for a caregiver. The goal is to give patients the ability to readjust themselves when they want to, improving quality of life.
Help us expand accessibility to neurologic care!
If you are interested in learning more about the NeuroHealth Lab, participating in certain aspects of the journey, or if you want to invest or partner, contact us today.