Serious neurological disability is an expensive chronic medical problem and a growing burden of our aging society. As virtual and augmented reality technology is becoming readily available to the public, innovative therapies can be deployed through these new modalities. At AUGMENTx, we strive to play visual mind tricks on patients with significant neurological disabilities to stimulate neuroplasticity and potentiate their neurological rehabilitation.
We recreated mirror therapy in augmented reality to make it more accessible, more versatile and boiled it down to a simple self-guided exercise. Our goal is to help neurologically disabled patients suffering from stroke, phantom limb pain, and complex regional pain syndrome. Through easier access to specialized therapy and increased compliance, we expect to achieve the quadruple impact outlined by this challenge.
1) Enhancing the patient experience – Timely access to therapy and seamless continuity of care are of utmost importance to patients and their family members. Although there is good evidence for the use of mirror therapy for stroke recovery, finding a therapist who can provide mirror therapy can be difficult. In the Greater Boston Area, only specialized rehabilitation centers such as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital advertise their mirror therapy program publicly. AUGMENTx brings the therapy experience to the patient anywhere and anytime. Therefore, therapy can be initiated much earlier while the patient is in the acute care hospital, follow the patient across different phases of rehabilitation care, and to the patient’s home.
2) Improve population health – Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability worldwide. Phantom limb pain and complex regional pain syndrome are severely disabling conditions as well. With our aging population and cardiovascular chronic diseases on the rise, the burden of stroke and limb amputation is growing fast. The extent to which neurologically disabled patients recover function will determine their quality of life. Mirror therapy has been shown to benefit stroke, limb amputation and complex regional pain syndrome patients in various studies.
3) Reduce cost – The economic burden and health care expenditure associated with stroke are immense. In the United States alone, there are more than 800,000 patients diagnosed with stroke every year. The first year of stroke rehabilitation costs more than 10,000 USD per patient. That amounts to at least 8 billion USD in rehabilitation cost of stroke patients. By maximizing the effectiveness and compliance of home rehabilitation exercise programs, we believe we can decrease the cost and improve clinical outcomes.
4) Improve work life of healthcare providers – Our solution not only automates the mirror therapy session in the office but also provides the same quality of therapy at the patient’s home. Our system also automatically tracks compliance and engage patients in much more meaningful ways through our digital platform and keep clinicians informed of the patients’ progress. When compliance becomes a problem or patient’s progress stalls, clinicians will be notified of those events so that they may provide timely communications and interventions to optimize the patient’s clinical outcomes.
Our solution is unique because we have the smallest form factor compared to our competitors. This small size of our product allows for extreme portability of the therapy system that can be introduced in the hospital and follow the patient throughout the entire recovery process to their home. Also, our system can collect patient motion data during each therapy session. This dataset will later enable patients and clinicians to monitor their progress objectively in comparison to a cohort of similar patients.
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