Emulating a gaming device, the Smart Health TeleRehab is indeed a game-changer. Healthcare technology company, Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), unveiled their latest invention this May which aims to improve physiotherapy in multiple ways.

Healthcare institutions taking part in the programme will lend patients an iPad and two sets of sensors to use at home for their modified physiotherapy experience.

With motion sensors attached to their neck and arm, patients merely need to mimic actions shown on their iPad screens throughout the therapy session. Their movements and techniques are recorded and this data collected is uploaded to a digital platform to be reviewed by their physiotherapists within two working days.

Trial stages prove beneficial to patients and healthcare professionals

Mr Chin Tian Loke, a 72 year old retiree, was one of the first to try this new programme from his home. During his session, he was given words of encouragement such as “Spectacular!” through a voice in the iPad. Senior Minister of State for Health, Chee Hong Tat, visited Mr Chin at his home to assess the use of this system.

“Smart Health TeleRehab could transform how therapy services are delivered in Singapore. Patients will benefit from greater convenience, cost savings and better outcomes,” he said.

“Therapists and therapy service providers will also benefit from the productivity improvements,” he added.

The cost of each TeleRehab session varies from institution to institution but roughly lies between SGD3 and SGD50 per session. This is a significant drop from the standard SGD80 per session excluding transportation fees and SGD160 per home therapy consultation.

Physiotherapists still have a major role to play by adjusting the difficulty of exercises to cater to the capability of the patients. If warranted, physiotherapists can video call patients to appropriately guide them through exercises or carry out a home visit within that week.

"Often, the reason why a patient needs therapy is the reason why the patient finds it hard to go for therapy,” explained National University of Singapore (NUS)'s associate professor and pioneer of TeleRehab, Gerald Koh.

Singapore is now one step closer to developing a Smart Nation

Currently, 11 patients from Touch Home Care and NTUC Health are trying out the TeleRehab system with the target being 1,000 patients on board by the end of 2018. 12 more healthcare institutions are expected to join the programme by December 2017. These institutions include Changi General Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and the SPD (previously Society for the Physically Disabled).

Initial analysis of data from this new system indicates that therapists could increase productivity by more than 30%. Physiotherapists will have more time to cater to needy patients as patients who require less attention will be able to utilise the digital platform.

In line with Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, this is the second technological advancement by IHiS following the video-call consultation system introduced in April.

"With the increasing incidence of chronic diseases, shortage of healthcare professionals, and the availability of more intelligent technologies, healthcare is a prime sector that can benefit from Smart Nation initiatives," stated Professor Atreyi Kankanhalli, from the department of information systems at NUS School of Computing. MIMS

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