Sooma tDCS: a high-tech cure for depression

According to the data by the World Health Organization, 350 million people suffer from depression around the globe. It’s the leading cause of disability.

That’s why in more developed countries, where the problems of depression treatment are addressed more often, even more advanced solutions for depression monitoring and daily therapy are invented.

One of the most interesting means of therapeutic depression care is Transcranial direct current stimulation or tDCS. It is a form of neurostimulation that uses constant, low current delivered to the brain area of interest via electrodes on the scalp.

Until recently, tDCS was a complicated and costly procedure, which was only possible to perform in doctor’s office. Sooma, our partners from Finland, however, have created a system for efficient home-based tDCS sessions without any extra costs for patients.

Sooma has developed a portable device for performing tDCS at home. Thanks to the device patients can safely perform electrical neurostimulation at their homes. But this kind of procedure still needs to be overseen by doctors.

It’s also necessary to gather large amounts of statistical data and analyze it. Here’s when OZiTAG solutions come into play. With a functional Android app and a convenient web portal for doctors, all the control and monitoring can be performed remotely.

All in all, the development for Sooma can be divided into three parts:

Server and database solutions

The server part of the complex is the core of the product. This part makes all the job regarding data storage and exchange between client systems: portals for doctors and Sooma managers, as well as the mobile app.

The server-side services are programmed using Node.js – a powerful technology allowing to create efficient back-end solutions, the main feature of which is quick processing of multiple requests.

The servers are using a NoSQL-proven MongoDB database. Considering that users produce a large number of logs about their health, and the mobile app gathers user activity data, a NoSQL solution is optimal for data storage and quick access to it.

Servers provide Restful HTTP API for the mobile app and the portals. Thanks to the API all the products exchange data with the servers and receive updates.

The servers also work directly with email and SMS delivery services. Node.js-based server also keeps track of its work and notifies the development team if anything goes wrong.

Sooma app and portal

Portals for doctors and Sooma admins

During the project implementation two web portals were created: one for Sooma managers, and another one for the doctors outside the company.

The management portal is an easy-to-use admin section for the use of patient and doctor databases, gathering data about user activity and its export for detailed analysis.

It’s also important to note, that all the portal data is anonymous and Sooma managers have no access to patients’ identification data. All the gathered numbers are used for further research and the improvement of treatment quality.

The portal for doctors is a more complex product, created with the use of React.js framework from Facebook.

Features for doctors:

  1. Maintaining unlimited number of patients
  2. Creating, editing and viewing treatment schedules
  3. Quick automatic bilateral sychronization with patients’ app
  4. Chart visualization of patient progress
  5. Monitoring of patients’ walking activity through Google Fit
  6. All the patient info on a single page
  7. Adaptive browser interface: available at any time from any device
  8. Customization of patient analysis: ask them about physical pain or fatigue levels, etc.
  9. Doctor’s notes and comments in the treatment history

Mobile app

The creation of an Android app helped establish the monitoring of home-based tDCS procedures and significantly improved communication between doctors and patients withot the need to wait in queues, fill in a ton of papers or spend any extra money.

Android app functions:

  1. Convenient treatment instructions in the form of video, images, text
  2. Treament reminders at customizeable time
  3. Treatment progress monitoring (mood, activity, sleep, appetite) on a visual scale, ability to add text notes
  4. Easy-to-understand charts
  5. Program customization both by doctors and patients/
  6. Patient’s step count. Improved step count indicates alleviated depression symptoms.
  7. Remote progress monitoring by doctors
  8. Full anonymity and personal data protection
  9. Push-notifications about treatment changes
  10. Device connectivity via Bluetooth

The safety of home-based, self-administered treatment with Sooma tDCS has been confirmed in clinical studies (Hyvärinen 2016), as well as ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 certificates.

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