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Free app for people with Parkinson’s receives charity funding



A free smartphone app, developed by a man living with Parkinson’s and his partner, has received funding for its second phase from Parkinson’s UK. 

Launched late last year by Kuhan Pushparatnam, co-host of the podcast ‘2 Parkies in a Pod’, Parkinson’s ON is already helping people with Parkinson’s to take their medication on time, track their symptoms and log their activities.

Pushparatnam, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 at the age of 38, was inspired to create the app as it draws on both his experience of developing products in the mobile industry and his lived experience of the condition.

He said: “I’ve always believed tech, when done right, can be a great enabler in daily life.

“So, while the world of health was new to me, the prospects of digital health to help manage chronic conditions like Parkinson’s seemed a no brainer.

“I set out to build a simple, ‘Parky friendly’ app that would not only empower those of us living with the condition, but ultimately allow for a better, more informed quality of care.

“I also wanted the app to lighten the load for loved ones.

“Partners of people with Parkinson’s often feel helpless and many of us living with the condition are all too conscious of this.

“With a linked account on their own phone, Parkinson’s ON allows partners to view, log and manage their loved one’s day.”

From its smiley face ratings scale, language and imagery, to the ‘tapping not typing’ principle, every aspect has been built from the perspective of someone with Parkinson’s.

Faced with daily physical or mental challenges, people with Parkinson’s have a different threshold for good user experience. The app has been designed & built with that in mind.

It ia also peppered with feel-good prompts to help boost motivation.

The new funding from Parkinson’s UK will allow the app to be developed further, reflecting the needs of the community.

New features for 2024 will include a daily log, a diary function and an exportable trends report, designed to better inform both the person with Parkinson’s and their health care team.

It will also help those that care for them.

Kuhan said: “I’m delighted to be partnering with Parkinson’s UK to build an exciting roadmap of features that can make a tangible difference to the quality of life for fellow members of the Parkinson’s community.

“I know all too well the daily challenges of living with this condition and, as our initial user feedback suggests, it’s sometimes the simplest things that can help people feel more in control of their lives.”

Caroline Rassell, Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK added: “It’s often the case that the best innovations and solutions come from within the community itself. Kuhan’s development of Parkinson’s ON is the perfect example of this.

“Empowering people with Parkinson’s with self care devices is an exciting area and offers new routes for community engagement, research opportunities and ultimately a better quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.”

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