As a Physical Therapist or Chiropractor, how do you ensure that your patients continue their rehabilitation after their appointment with you? When your patient goes home how do they know whether they are doing their exercises correctly? Wouldn't you like to be able to continue to encourage your patients in their recovery process between appointments?
The system was recently demonstrated at MEDICA 2012. The concept will seem familiar to anyone who has used Xbox Kinect or a Wii game. A 3D camera (or sensor mat) records the patient's movements whilst they complete a range of exercises prescribed by their therapist. An avatar on the screen works alongside the patient during the course of the exercises. Proprioception and memory training modules are also included in the training programs. The patient's moves are constantly compared against the system data and the computer analyses whether the motion sequences are correct.
Project Manager, Dr. Michael John, at developers Fraunhofer FOKUS explains, "The system is not only intended to motivate the person to exercise, it is primarily intended to motivate them to exercise correctly. Only in this way is it possible to achieve a sustained level of therapy success outside the clinic."
With the aid of video conference software, the patient can also make direct contact with their therapist or doctor. Additional mobile versions of the technology have also been embedded into clothing and walking sticks. These items capture data such as blood pressure and heart rate as well as movement data. The information is then transmitted via a smart phone to the rehabilitation server in the clinic.
Feedback from Doctors and Therapists has been included in the development of the project to enable the products to specifically target areas that will help add value to the work carried out in clinics.
This use of technology will be especially useful for patients who, after illness or accident, want to leave hospital and return home as soon as possible. It is an ideal way to support a patient's recovery process and motivate them to continue with their rehabilitation exercises. This type of encouragement and monitoring enables patients to make a quicker recovery whilst reducing the costs associated with long stays in hospital or clinics.
How do you encourage your patients to continue with their rehabilitation exercises whilst at home?