FRAIL EIT-KIC Health project

FRAIL is a project to develop a smartwatch app that supports elderly individuals who are in a pre-frail or frail state. The app will monitor for falls, level of physical activity and interruption of routine activities, to help detect the onset of frailty and to prevent its consequences among the wearers.

Origins

Identification and assessment of frailty is essential for tailoring geriatric interventions. The currently available instruments for assessing frailty measure factors that require time-consuming screening processes, are difficult to use in primary care and also lack ecological validity. Smartwatch-based approaches seem particularly well suited for assessment of everyday living – especially when it comes to measuring core features of frailty, such as falls, low physical activity and interruptions in activities of daily living.

Team

FRAIL is an international project lead by experts in rehabilitation research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany. The team’s specialist in digital health solution is the start-up Qolware, from Germany. CapDigital, from France contributes to business development in the digital ecosystem. MADoPA, from France, evaluates health and independent living solutions. IMEC, of Belgium, provides expert knowledge on data-analytics and performance measurement.

Our Mission

The FRAIL project aims to develop a smartwatch application designed to detect frailty among elderly individuals and to prevent the associated negative consequences. The app will be deployed on the market as a new key feature of LOLA, an existing health-monitoring app for the elderly marketed by the project partner Qolware. FRAIL’s frailty assessment feature, tested in multicentered international pilot studies of participants affected by different degrees of frailty, will monitor three key parameters:

  • Fall detection and prevention: A large pilot study with frail elderly individuals who have a high risk of falling will be used to make significant improvements in algorithms for the detection of the risk of falls.
  • Physical activity indicators for frailty: The frailty assessment will include other physical activity indicators outside of fall risk, and it will facilitate transferring detection of these indicators from a waist-worn device to a smartwatch device using the LOLA app.
  • Frailty detection in activities of daily living: TUM will provide specific parameters for assessing frailty in daily activities using the LOLA app.

The project’s design, low price, monitoring features and novelty character on the market provide a real added value.

Impact

The FRAIL solution will help seniors by directly support the prevention of frailty and its negative impact on their quality of life. It is expected that the app will engage thousands of European elderly citizens in protecting their health, increasing autonomy and bringing higher quality of life to them and their relatives. By helping keep seniors active and healthy for longer, it can provide benefits for caregivers, payers and healthcare systems.

Why this is an EIT Health project

FRAIL is in keeping with the EIT Health focus areas of:

  • “Bringing Care Home”, because it allows for unobtrusive monitoring of the wearers during their daily lives.
  • “Care Pathways”, because it can prevent the onset of frailty, and reduce the negative impacts of frailty.

Access to the EIT Health network helps FRAIL to promote its solution and provide it with extended European outreach.