Chinese tech company Tencent has partnered with UK-based medical firm Medopad to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) system for remote monitoring of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The partners have also collaborated with Parkinson’s Center of Excellence at King’s College Hospital in London to support their project, reported the BBC.

Medopad develops mobile apps to monitor various conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and rare diseases.

The firm’s app for Parkinson’s is designed to offer a video test for fine hand movements such as opening and closing the fists, which are then digitally analysed. This will allow doctors to remotely examine the strength and movement tests that are commonly performed in person.

Under the new project, the partners aim to train new AI software to automatically score these tests. They worked together with King’s College Hospital to train the technology using existing videos of patients assessed by doctors.

“Our partnership with Tencent comes from a shared vision to change the future of healthcare as we know it.”

According to Bloomberg, the software can currently translate the tests’ video images from a patient’s smartphone into a graph, which can be used by doctors to assess the patient’s performance.

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Furthermore, Tencent and Medopad hope to cut the time taken for such motor function evaluations from the current 30 minutes to three minutes.

Medopad founder and CEO Dan Vahdat said: “Our partnership with Tencent comes from a shared vision to change the future of healthcare as we know it.

“In combining Medopad’s medical expertise and Tencent’s technical capabilities, we hope to provide the technology needed to support clinicians to predict preventable complications for people with Parkinson’s disease.”

In January this year, Medopad signed a memorandum of understanding with Johns Hopkins University.

The deal provides the university with access to Medopad’s patient monitoring platform, AI and machine learning capabilities, which will be applied to clinical and public health projects.