Category ‘Innovative models of care service provision’ – SMARTGEM
Project lead: Dr. Lars Neeb (Berlin, Charité)
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Smartphone-assisted migraine therapy
Migraine is one of the world’s most disabling diseases, affecting 15-25 percent of all women and 6-8 percent of all men. To reduce the frequency of attacks, preventive strategies include both drug-based and non-drug therapies, such as endurance training, relaxation techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, access to migraine specialists and psychotherapists specializing in pain management remains limited, both in urban and rural areas.
The purpose of the SMARTGEM project is to provide effective migraine therapy that also delivers time and cost savings. The ‘M-sense’ smartphone app enables patients to record their headaches in a ‘symptom diary’, helping them identify potential triggers. An integrated treatment module helps patients plan and implement relaxation techniques and endurance training options. This approach offers information on and training in personalized behavioral treatment strategies. Experts from university-based specialist headache centers and physicians from private practices can link up to form telehealth networks, enabling them to discuss and make decisions regarding the treatment of specific patients. Physician-moderated fora and virtual consultations will speed up and simplify existing routes of communication between physicians and patients.
The project also includes a controlled trial to test the effectiveness of this new form of care service provision. The control group will be made up of patients who can use the app to record headache events but who do not have access to any of its additional features.
The project has been awarded a total of approximately €3.3 million in funding over three years. If successful, SMARTGEM will be able to serve as a model for university hospital-based headache outpatient services and for other centers and clinics specializing in headache and migraine management – particularly in areas with low levels of service provision.