Technology and Physical Therapy
- December 19th, 2012
- Comments Off on Technology and Physical Therapy
First let me preface this by saying, I am not a physical therapist. I know many physical therapists, and other specialists that work in the field, but I myself am not in any way a medical practitioner. I do have the utmost respect for them, and I am consistently amazed by how friendly and selfless all the practitioners in the field are. I think this is one of the reasons why I am so driven to help develop new tools for them and their patients/clients.
When I started working at Jintronix, I began to visit a lot of physical rehabilitation clinics and speak to a great deal of clinicians. One thing I began to notice, wherever I went, was the lack of technology used. I think the most advanced piece of hardware I saw was an electric treadmill. The reasons for this is simple, physical therapy works, and as the old adage goes, “if it is not broken, don’t fix it”. One challenge we identified was ensuring everyone has access to a sufficient amount of therapy. Physical therapy is traditionally labor intensive and time consuming, for both the client and the clinician. At Jintronix, we began to think that technology could be used to expand these clinical services, just like technology has expanded so many other services over the years by leveraging existing resources. By providing clinicians with more powerful, modern tools, we are going to be empowering them, and provide patients/clients with access to greater amount of care.
Historically this has not been so easy to do. Physical rehabilitation is just that, physical. It requires physical interaction, which is resource intense. Digital systems that could be used to allow people to physically interact with technology are typically expensive, technically complicated (requiring specialized training), and historically limited to a clinical setting, sometimes for safety reasons. It is only recently, with off the shelf sensors becoming affordable, computers becoming commonplace, and high speed Internet readily available, that technology is finding its way into physical rehabilitation in a big way.
Companies like StrokeLink and PhysioTec provide great resources for patients to receive more guidance when they are at home, allowing them to continue their physical therapy in a guided manner. These kinds of system are possible thanks to the widespread adoption of computers, high speed Internet, and tablet computers like the Ipad.
Jintronix wants to take it one step further, by using new, affordable depth sensing cameras. These sensors are able to track your motions in 3D space, so not only are we providing guidance, but monitoring as well. You are able to get immediate feedback, and so will your clinician, meaning there is a continuous delivery of care.