Thousands of patients with Parkinson’s disease are set to be given a ‘life-changing’ smart watch, that allows doctors to remotely monitor their condition.

The Parkinson’s Kinetigraph (PKG) contains sensors which are able to collect information from the wearer. This information can then be relayed to doctors who can look for any possible issues, such as excessive movement, immobility and even sleep disturbance.

Doctors can then decide if a patient’s medicines need changing or if they made need any other interventions, such as physiotherapy, for example.

The device is designed to be worn 24 hours a day for six days a week, and also buzzes to remind patients to take their medication.

Two people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in England every single hour

On average, two people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in England every single hour. Parkinson’s UK estimates with population growth and ageing, this is likely to increase by a fifth by 2030.

There are already around 120,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s, all of whom are expected to benefit from this ‘revolutionary’ technology.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Parkinson’s is an incurable illness that has a significant impact on peoples’ lives and this small watch will dramatically improve their quality of life – providing a thorough review of their health and ensuring they get the care they need from the comfort of their own homes.

“Not only is it better for these people living with Parkinson’s, but it is also more efficient for the NHS – freeing up space and time in hospitals for our hard-working staff.”

The device gives patients confidence by providing real time information

John Whipps, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007, used to be assessed every six to 24 months by a consultant. He said it was hard to remember to tell the consultant all the things he needed to between assessments, and the smart watch has therefore been valuable in providing consultants with a more accurate picture of his condition.

He said: “The problem is that Parkinson’s changes from day to day, and even throughout each day. Under the traditional system, you have to remember all your concerns and symptoms between visits, ensure you can attend the appointment, have the stress of getting to hospital on time, and then remember to tell your consultant how you are.”

He explained that the PKG has been “fabulous” as it receives real-time information and sends it straight to the clinical team. “It really gives you confidence as you know it gives accurate recordings, and you don’t need to rely so much on your own perception,” he said.

The technology aims to free up clinician time, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS are backing nearly 40 other technology-based approaches to caring for patients, as part of the Digital Health Partnership Award.

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said he hopes the projects will “dramatically improve quality of life and independence” and free up “valuable clinician time”.