With health systems under enormous strain globally, demand for eHealth tools and expertise is growing. Population ageing, the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases and higher public expectations are combining to overwhelm existing healthcare infrastructure, calling for a step-change in our approach to healthcare management and illness prevention.
Recognising the potential of eHealth solutions, AUT University’s Professor Valery Feigin - a world renowned neurologist and epidemiologist - has devised a mobile app that helps users manage their health and reduce their chances of experiencing a non-communicable disease.
The Stroke RiskometerTM is an award winning app enabling users to assess their individual stroke risk on a smartphone or tablet. The professional version of the app also facilitates individually tailored self-management of lifestyle risk factors, for the prevention of stroke, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
“Up to 80 per cent of strokes are preventable, if risk factors are managed appropriately,” says Professor Feigin. “Stroke is much easier to prevent than to treat, and by making good lifestyle choices we can reduce our chances of suffering from a stroke, while also diminishing our risk of experiencing heart disease and dementia.”
The app uses far-reaching mobile technologies to share this message widely and help users to stay motivated as they begin implementing lifestyle changes. The Stroke RiskometerTM is currently used by over 62,000 health conscious people in more than 70 countries, and is endorsed by the World Stroke Organization, the World Federation of Neurology and the International Association of Neurology and Epidemiology.
Stroke burden has increased dramatically in New Zealand and internationally in recent decades. In New Zealand, over 9,000 people will suffer a stroke each year, making it the nation’s third leading cause of death. Prevention is the only feasible means of undermining the devastating impact of stroke, however existing methods of primary stroke prevention are not proving effective.
The Stroke RiskometerTM has been developed and validated in collaboration with an international advisory group consisting of over 50 experts in stroke research and prevention.
The recent version of the app allows the users to share their data. The data collected over one year will provide unprecedented insights into the determinants, distribution and prevention of some of the world’s most widespread non-communicable diseases.
“This unprecedented research has the potential to significantly advance knowledge on the prevention of stroke, dementia, heart attack and diabetes – both in New Zealand and worldwide,” says Professor Feigin.
The research conducted through the Stroke RiskometerTM has the potential to be one of the world’s largest studies in this area, and could make a major contribution to health and wellbeing. Professor Feigin and his research team are open to partnering with external organisations, and see research collaborations and additional funding as opportunities that could help maximise the potential benefits of the app.
With further development of the app now underway, it is hoped the Stroke RiskometerTM will lead to significant gains in preventing and treating non-communicable diseases. By early next year, the app will be available in over 8 languages. Currently it is available in English and Russian.