As the world population ages and chronic diseases become more common and long-lasting, it has become clear that a key problem is loss of mobility due to age or disease. People who are too frail to walk cannot remain independent; they cannot live alone, and they may need to move into nursing homes. In addition to the obvious loss of independence and control that mobility loss causes, it has become clear that risks of many bad events increase with loss of mobility. These include falls, hospitalisations, and risk of dying. The underlying theme of Mobilise-D is that loss of mobility is itself a medical problem regardless of what disease causes it.
Until recently, we could see when someone has trouble moving about, but we could not easily measure this loss. But new technologies now allow us to measure mobility accurately in people’s homes and natural environment. Wearable digital sensors have revolutionized the ability to find out if someone is losing their ability to walk, and to what degree.
The underlying thesis of Mobilise-D is that loss of mobility (slower walking, fewer steps per day, or more time sitting, for example) predicts adverse medical outcomes regardless of underlying disease. We believe that mobility loss is a “vital sign”, just like temperature or blood pressure. In Mobilise-D, we will first develop a common measurement tool across 5 different diseases (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Hip Fracture recovery, and Heart Failure). We will do a technical validation of the method against “gold standard” methods. And we will test the tool in about 2400 patients with these diseases to see if the digital measurement of mobility predicts the bad clinical outcomes we care about – falls, hospitalizations, deaths, loss of independence, and worsening disease status. Our ultimate goal is to bring these data to health authorities and regulators so that digital assessment of mobility can be accepted for use in clinical research and clinical practice. Then, we can change the practice of medicine and improve the lives of people in Europe and beyond.