Telemedicine applications continue to pop up for new functions in additional settings and medical specialties. Patients, physicians, and healthcare executives are on board with remote medical care in its various forms because of the increased opportunities for patient access to care and telemedicine’s cost-savings attributes. We recently wrote about a smart sock for telemedicine that provides physiotherapists real-time information about lower body movements. We also covered the use of store-and-forward technology to assist with dermatologist consults for primary care physicians who send images of skin abnormalities for triage.
Fraunhofer, a European application-oriented research organization, is developing ReMove-It, telemedicine-based rehabilitation exercise therapy. ReMove-It allows artificial hip and knee joint patients to do rehabilitation exercises at home at times that fit work and family schedules. When people don’t do the required exercises to rebuild strength and coordination, rehabilitation takes longer, often costs more, and can further impact patient health. ReMove-it is based on Fraunhofer’s MeineReha (MyRehab) system: personalized therapeutic support that focuses on individual performance with videos recorded by the patient’s therapist. In the videos, the therapist performs the prescribed exercises and the patient imitates them in front of the screen with a video camera focused on the patient. Patients receive correction instructions during the exercise and after completion, along with feedback about the quality of performance. The clinical staff also receives the movement data to adapt the treatment plan.
ReMove-It is not yet ready to market. Fraunhofer tested ReMove-It for 16 months in 2016 and 2017 with 110 patients. Half of them went through conventional rehab including 24 sessions while the other half used ReMove-it at home, completing four therapeutic exercises twice a week for three months. According to Fraunhofer, the remote system proved its effectiveness and the organization expects to receive approval to offer ReMove-It as a medical device in 2019.