Management of Parkinson's Disease 20 Years from Now: Towards Digital Health Pathways
Current best medical treatment for patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) involves a medical professional who applies state-of-the-art knowledge of diagnostics and treatment- as derived from cohort studies and clinical trials- to the healthcare process of individual patients. Thus, the much-needed personalization of medicine depends on the abilities, experience and intuition of medical professionals to adjust group-based knowledge to individual decision making. Within 20 years from now, such personal clinical decisions will be largely supported by digital means, also defining a new ecosystem of healthcare often referred to as ""digital medicine"". We expect that the next phase of digitalization will include new ""digital health pathways"": data-driven personalized decision support that is based on a combination of multimodal data sources, including evidence-based medical knowledge (e.g., clinical guidelines), personal disease profiles (including genetic determinants of disease progression and treatment response), insights into individual disease trajectories (thereby defining subgroups of patients) and individual patients' needs. Here, we illustrate the potential of this development by sketching the contours of a digitally supported care pathway for gait disability and falls. Such digital health pathways will support the introduction of personalized medicine for PD patients, allowing patients to benefit optimally from individually tailored treatments. This should result in a better quality of life for patients and lower costs for society.