Patient-centric Remote Physiotherapy with Computer Vision

We joined forces with a a leading rehabilitation center to develop a patient-centered telephysiotherapy system that effectively addresses the needs of patients, insurers, and therapists.

Different interests in Physiotherapy

Back in 2014, the realms of physiotherapy and technology seemed worlds apart. However, it became increasingly clear that physiotherapy faced various challenges and issues that needed to be addressed. Two groups with diverse business goals and motivations were involved in physiotherapy: doctors and private insurance companies.

How we navigated divergent priorities in physiotherapy?

Private insurers’ concerns

Private insurers’ primary concern is reducing the cost of physiotherapy services. Recurring injuries or prolonged healing times can occur when patients fail to adhere to doctors’ physiotherapy instructions.

Consequently, insurance companies incur additional expenses in providing repeated healthcare services.

Doctors’ needs for enhanced treatment

On the other hand, doctors would like to be able to immediately initiate the rehabilitation process after diagnosing an injury. They aspire to closely track their patients’ progress, aiming to enhance the quality of healthcare services.

Moreover, they seek to facilitate recovery by personalizing the rehab process and providing continuous support and verification throughout the patient’s treatment.

Introducing the first motion capture device by Microsoft

In 2011, Microsoft introduced Kinect, the first motion capture device to hit the market. With its focus on interactive gaming experiences, Kinect allowed users to engage in a myriad of activities such as playing tennis, dancing, and participating in immersive adventures involving throwing and catching balls.

The birth of RehoSystem

Recognizing the obstacles within this domain and the opportunity to use Kinect, Punktum joined forces with a prominent rehabilitation clinic and a renowned doctor to develop an innovative telerehabilitation management IT system called RehoSystem.

Gathering essential data for system development

Together with the client, we embarked on comprehensive clinical research aimed at gathering essential data and exploring the efficacy of our solution in the medical environment. Our primary focus was to ensure that the exercises met the intended use and basic requirements and were desirable to both doctors and patients. 

Subsequently, we developed an effective motion-tracking system engine capable of supporting the exercises within a medical setting.

In some cases, we faced challenges that required smart R&D and engineering. For example, mapping or tracking obscured limbs, e.g. hidden behind the patient’s chest. We expanded the system’s motion processing capacity to address this, augmenting its analytical assets and computing capabilities. This allowed for more accurate tracking and improved exercise execution.

Start small: targeted exercises for tennis elbow pain relief

The client decided to start first with tennis elbow, also known as Epicondylitis, a condition characterized by persistent pain around the outer region of the elbow. The primary concern was the stiffness experienced by patients, which restricted their range of motion and caused discomfort during movement.

To alleviate this issue, together we developed a tailored series of exercises that patients could easily incorporate into their daily routine, improving joint flexibility.

Optimizing exercise performance

It was crucial to establish a standardized registration process to describe how the limbs should move during each exercise. We meticulously coded the normative motion schemes and patterns, defining the acceptable performance criteria recognized by therapists. This served as a benchmark for tracking and comparing the execution of the exercises against the established norms.

Throughout the process, we conducted numerous tests to assess the efficacy of our system and ensure its reliability. These tests served as essential milestones in refining the client’s solution and validating its potential for driving improvement in patient outcomes.

By leveraging clinical trials and harnessing the power of data, we have gained valuable insights and expanded access to evidence-based exercise programs. 

By effectively demonstrating the proof of concept, the client’s vision was successfully executed, thereby solidifying their confidence in the project. Simultaneously, this collaborative endeavor brought together our collective knowledge and expertise, fostering a unified approach toward achieving shared goals.

Active patients’ engagement through remote guided therapy sessions

RehoSystem provides a secure and convenient solution for remote rehabilitation. Patients can actively participate in therapy sessions by following the guidance of a sensor that ensures the proper execution of each exercise.

This sensor offers real-time feedback on performance, allowing physiotherapists to continuously monitor the remote rehabilitation process through live video streams of patients’ exercises.

Thanks to the utilization of advanced technologies such as knowledge discovery and data mining, the system is capable of analyzing data and, for example, determining the types of treatments and their effectiveness in relation to specific rehabilitation goals and corresponding medical conditions.

Notably, this system empowers a single physiotherapist to access the progress of multiple patients simultaneously, streamlining the practice of remote physiotherapy.

How does telerehabilitation work step-by-step?

  1. The physiotherapist utilizes an intuitive user interface to define the exercise plan that the patient will perform.

  2. The physiotherapist plans exercise sessions based on the defined exercises for the patient.

  3. When the patient logs into the system at home, they can access the exercises planned for them by the physiotherapist.

  4. While performing the exercises, the system records their progress and automatically checks if they are executed correctly.

  5. In the case of incorrect execution, the system instructs the patient on how to correct their movements.

  6. Real-time feedback on errors can be communicated to the physiotherapist, facilitated by the two-way video transmission capability of the system.

  7. After completing the exercises, the system collects feedback from the patient, which is then stored in the medical record along with the complete exercise session data.

  8. A detailed record of the session, including all performed exercises and indications of incorrect movements, remains available to the physiotherapist as a comprehensive report. This enables the physiotherapist to understand the patient’s health status and rehabilitation progress completely.

Remote rehabilitation serves as a valuable complement to in-person exercise sessions under the guidance of a physiotherapist, providing individuals with an additional layer of support and professional care. While it cannot entirely replace the hands-on expertise of a physiotherapist, remote rehabilitation offers a range of benefits that contribute to an enhanced rehabilitation experience.

The key advantages of RehoSystem are:

  • The continuous intervention of a physiotherapist in the rehabilitation process leads to an improvement in the effectiveness of the treatment.

  • Convenience for disabled patients

  • Comprehensive and detailed information about patients’ progress, presenting aggregated data in an easily accessible format

  • Reduction in travel time to clinics or hospitals

  • Increased comfort during exercises

  • Avoidance of queues at clinics

  • Lower costs of the rehabilitation programs

  • Personalization of services and full focus on the patient

  • Prevention of the recurrence of patients’ injuries

  • Constant communication between the patient and the physiotherapist

  • Access to patient personal health data

Do you want to develop your own medtech product? See our services to find out how we can help.

  • At Punktum, we understand that your success is our primary focus. Our team is committed to delivering innovative solutions like RehoSystem that not only enhance rehabilitation outcomes but also align with your specific business needs.
  • Let us collaborate to drive growth and maximize the potential of your physiotherapy services.
  • Reach out to us now to discuss your goals and start developing your personalized medtech product.

Let’s build something great together!