West Health Institute Unveils New Kinect-based Physical Therapy Technology, Launches Research Studies with Naval Medical Center San Diego

Innovative System Could Lower Costs of Musculoskeletal Disease by Improving Rehabilitation Adherence and Outcomes

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The West Health Institute announced it has developed technology that could revolutionize physical therapy using Microsoft's Kinect for Windows cutting-edge, motion-tracking platform, and is starting clinical research studies with the Naval Medical Center of San Diego. The Reflexion Rehabilitation Measurement Tool (RMT) developed at the Institute allows medical professionals to customize plans and schedules and potentially remotely monitor patients to ensure their exercises are on track.

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The RMT is a prescribed software application that addresses musculoskeletal disease, which costs Americans $127 billion a year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Used with Microsoft's Kinect for Windows motion camera and a Windows 7 personal computer, this program provides interactive feedback and educational materials which are expected to help physical therapists and physicians improve patient adherence to the prescribed therapy and ensure the exercises are performed correctly (watch video).

"Rehabilitation needs to happen continuously, not just when the therapist or doctor is watching, so we developed a tool to extend the expert guidance of physical therapists and make it more engaging and more effective for patients," said Dr. Ravi Komatireddy, co-inventor of the technology and a visiting fellow with West Health Institute and clinical scholar with Scripps Translational Science Institute. "We're very excited that our first collaboration is with San Diego's Naval Medical Center to see how we can further develop this technology to help veterans and the military patient community in rehab. We are trying to bring the best platforms from consumer technology and use them for therapeutic, validated clinical tools that can lower the cost of health care."

The initial clinical research pilot studies will measure usability, adherence to therapy, and eventually, clinical outcomes of using Reflexion's interactive RMT.

"Naval Medical Center San Diego has many wounded, ill and injured service members in need of musculoskeletal surgery and rehabilitation," said Capt. Eric Hofmeister, Chair of Orthopedic Surgery Department at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. "In an ongoing effort to continue to meet the health care needs of our patients and their families, we pursue innovative technology that advances the medical field in order to deliver the best care available while becoming more efficient."

The current standard of care for rehabilitation involves patients receiving individual sessions from physical therapists, which are followed up with paper reminders that illustrate how the patient is supposed to perform the prescribed exercise.  Outside of the limited time with their therapist, patients' exercises often go un-tracked and un-measured. Compliance is a major issue, with patients often not doing their exercises correctly, or not doing them at all, which can negatively impact recovery time, health outcomes and overall costs. 

"The biggest problem with physical therapy is patients not doing enough of it or not doing it properly," said Spencer Hutchins, co-inventor and Reflexion Project Lead. "We are building a tool to help physical therapists measure progress in a fun way that could potentially help patients heal faster."

The West Health Institute is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) medical research organization whose mission is to lower health care costs by developing innovative patient-centered solutions that deliver the right care at the right place at the right time. This is accomplished by conducting innovative medical research, educating key stakeholders and advocating on behalf of patients. Solely funded by pioneering philanthropists Gary and Mary West, it is part of West Health, an initiative combining four separate organizations – the West Health Institute, the West Health Policy Center, the West Health Investment Fund, and the West Health Incubator. The Institute is located in San Diego, California, the global center for health care innovation. For more information, find us at www.westhealth.org and follow us @westhealth.

Located on Florida Drive, adjacent to Balboa Park, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) , is the Pride of Navy Medicine.  The hospital has played a vital role in the history of San Diego for more than 80 years. From the original tent dispensary established in 1917, to the high-tech, ultra-modern facility of the 1990s, the mission has remained constant to provide the finest medical care in a family-centered care environment to the operational forces, their families, and to those who served their country in the past. NMCSD does not directly or indirectly endorse any product or service provided, or to be provided, by West Health Institute "Reflexion", its successors, assignees, or licensees.

SOURCE West Health Institute