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In a bid to provide people suffering from disabilities that affect their physical activity and lead an active and healthy life, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is testing a form of wireless wearable technology that aims to aid patients suffering from motor skill problems during their physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions.

DHA’s sensor-augmented Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Initiative incorporates the world’s most advanced wireless motion capture technology that consists of highly precise wearable motion sensors that provide real-time visualisations of motor functions in patients.

Mai Al Dossari, Head of the Policy & Strategy Department at DHA said the technology developed improves patient engagement, accelerates positive outcomes, and lowers overall costs in physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Providing a technology that aids patients in committing to their physiotherapy exercises is important as physiotherapy can make a difference in an individual’s lifestyle. For many seniors, disabled or chronically ill people, physiotherapy is the key to restoring and maintaining a level of physical function that permits independent living. Physiotherapy benefits include decreasing pain, improving joint mobility, increasing strength and coordination and improved cardiorespiratory function.

The technology, called Arcus and that was developed by ArcSecond, Inc., a San Diego-based technology start-up is currently in the pilot phase at Rashid, Dubai and Latifa Hospital.

Nathan Ramasarma, Co-founder and CEO of ArcSecond, Inc. said Arcus was developed to reduce overall healthcare costs and demonstrates improved outcomes by delivering interactive care to patients in the comfort of their home or at work.

He explained that  for example if a patient underwent a knee replacement surgery and required three months of physiotherapy, he or she is unlikely to remain committed to the exercises provided by the therapist at home, as they would not know what to do without the therapist.  

Advantage arcus

Arcus can be worn over clothing or integrated seamlessly into smart apparel or accessories such as braces. Patients can visualise their exercises real-time on a client such as a tablet, computer or a smartphone without having to download or install custom applications on them. In addition to recording exercise sessions real-time, Arcus provides keen insights based on the patient’s progress over time.

Therapists can select custom exercise protocols and set functional goals for each patient remotely. Subjective feedback from patients such as muscle strength and pain are recorded during each session to provide additional perspectives to the therapist in order to fine-tune exercise protocols for each patient.

He concluded by stating that this technology was created to ultimately improve patient engagement, lower drop-out ratios and hence improve the quality of life of patients by aiding them to lead independent and active lives.

The UAE Innovation Month, which is the largest celebration of its kind that seeks to celebrate the best in ideas on innovation from the government and private sectors as well as from the public, was organised under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.