Rehabilitation is defined as the very act of restoring someone to health or normal life after a period of illness or trauma.
Technological innovations, both existing and forthcoming, are expected to enhance the scope of patient recovery.
PHYSIOTIMES brings you a detailed insight of how we are stepping towards a technology-driven future of Rehabilitation guided by dynamic professionals.
From Indian movies to Practitioners and Patients, the crutches and other aluminum fabrications have stayed to be the primary choices for rehabilitation of stroke patients in their road to recovery.
Stroke is considered as one of the leading causes of disability in India and the World. More than 1.8 million (18 Lakh) cases of strokes are reported every year in India. More than 80% of these patients suffer from weakness or paralysis of one side of the body. Exercise is a good practice to recover from post-stroke functional problems. Through exercise and practice, the muscles help the brain to ‘pick up the slack’ from the disabling conditions. Exercise intensity increases the blood and oxygen flow of the brain and thus the brain repairs and reorganizes itself by generating new communication channels via neuroplasticity
Traditional therapies are not adequate for patients convalescing from stroke. One to one session in hospitals and physiotherapy is recommended for the survivors by the neurologists. Even the usual average of 30 repetitions is grossly not sufficient as opined by researchers, who advise 400- 600 repetitions as essential.
This field of medical technology is not staid anymore. There are some exciting options for the physiotherapists and patients to choose from, for a quicker and more certain path to recovery. Especially for the millions of stroke victims with the upper limb motor deficit requiring Neuro-motor Rehabilitation BeAble Health has developed a state of the art device yet is so simple in applications.
Traditional methods and tools of Rehabilitation, as many experts have even felt and expressed, have several constraints that limit the success rates. BeAble Health is co-founded on the principles of converging design and technology to solve the needs of rehabilitation space.
Habib Ali (Founder) is a Biomedical Engineer with specialization in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technologies. He is trained in design thinking from the Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE), Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. Sreehari KG (Co-Founder) is a Visual Media, Design & Communications expert having spent over 10 years in industry and academia. During his PhD in Design department at IIT Hyderabad, Sreehari met Habib, who was working on the problem of Stroke rehabilitation. Sreehari could relate completely to a close family member’s traumatic experiences post stroke and understood the need gap for a design & technology intervention in this area.
To solve the pressing need for intensive and engaging rehabilitation, the founders backed with their skill and expertise in Bio-Medical Engineering, Technology, Robotics, Gaming and Design, believed that their innovations could redefine rehabilitation therapy.
Over years, many of the Physios have felt that because rehabilitation is naturally repetitive, it demands the motivation of patients.
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, the impact of this technological evolution can be observed in our day to day life. Unfortunately the impact of Technology in the Rehabilitation space has not been enough. Over the last few decades, the tools used in Rehab have not seen much evolution either in terms of technology or design. Holding the attention of patients is a huge challenge for HCP every day. Repetition suffers. In turn therapists see lack of adherence to exercises and even dropout of patients from therapy
Technology can come to the rescue of Therapist and Patient alike. The continuum of care can proceed unhindered. Many strongly believe - with the right tools, Physiotherapists and Doctors can deliver much higher impact and enable better quality of life to stroke patients. Without doubt, cutting edge technology like this is an Enabler.
Stroke being is one of the leading causes of disability, every year in India, more than 12 Lakh new cases need intensive rehabilitation. While these numbers are increasing rapidly each year, Covid has only added several more pushing us close to a ‘Stroke epidemic’. With the right inventions and interventions, clinicians can support these lakhs of patients to get back to their mainstream lives after stroke rehabilitation. These patients need not lead a life of neglect or be dependent on others forever.
“While Stroke has been our first area of focus, we believe several other neuro-muscular rehabilitation solutions including those for children will soon come out of Beable designs”- say the founders.
Since the available options for such repetitive exercises are invariably imported and expensive, market has been shy to adopt the technology and concept, still relying on age old methods and means. BeAble Health’s Founder Mr. Habib Ali says, “Ours is the first true Atma Nirbhar product and the simulation games have been designed in a way to suit Indian milieu. Indian patients will easily relate to those games”.
Benefit to the patient comes via the device tracking the movements of patients and shows them their improvement status every day, which in turn motivates them to perform more cycles and stick to therapy with more joy and own will. Thus begins the virtuous cycle of Progress-Engaged Therapy- Assessment – More Progress.
Speaking about 'ArmAble', Habib Ali said, "The constant mentoring and support by CfHE helped us identify a strong need and conceptualize an appropriate solution. This strong research foundation and a significant grant from BIRAC under the guidance of IKP Hyderabad, funds and mentoring support from Villgro, Social Alpha, IIGP, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, have accelerated our journey from a prototype to a market-ready product. The ecosystem enablers have played a crucial role in our journey so far, and it is just the beginning"
The ArmAble is a unique amalgamation of design and technology. It is simple, yet highly sophisticated.
The game-based device helps the patient to move their arm in an engaging and fun-filled manner through immersive games that are customized according to the patient’s requirements. Exercise on the device helps the patients to improve their post-stroke functional problems and this is done through repetitive sessions that can be monitored remotely by the therapists.
A This Gamified Arm Rehabilitation Device, aimed at neuro and motor of upper motor deficits due to conditions such as:
In the last 2 decades, technology-driven approaches in rehabilitation have made tremendous progress in the West. These approaches have been effective, but their adoption in the Indian context has been minimal. The two reasons for this are, first, rehabilitation in the Indian context, has not received its due credit. Hospitals have not invested enough in rehabilitation. The second reason is that the solutions designed in the West were designed keeping in mind the western healthcare ecosystem. The way the Indian healthcare ecosystem works is different than the west. This needed a substantial amount of effort by the users to adapt to changes. Exorbitant pricing only worsened the adoption.
Paradoxically, Indian rehab technology did not keep pace. Even today most of the technology-driven approaches in physiotherapy and rehabilitation are all imported.
Beable dreams to change this. It has designed solutions after thorough field research in India. Many Hospitals, Rehabilitation centers, and Clinicians have already found the Beable solutions very user-friendly. Patients and their family members have also praised the convenient, simple, user-friendly, technology driven approaches in the design. The games include many activities of daily living. Patients can relate to these a lot more, and find it engaging. As engagement levels increase patients recover faster and more comprehensively.
Let 2021 mark innovations in physiotherapy