A physical therapist in the Rehabilitation Center at TMDU tests an early prototype wearable headset system.
Coronavirus Rehabilitation Activities at Tokyo Medical and Dental University
The Rehabilitation Center at TMDU Medical Hospital has introduced rehabilitation therapy for severely ill COVID-19 patients and remote rehabilitation for moderately ill patients who have recovered enough to walk independently. Aimed at helping patients recover faster, this will also help contribute to limiting infection risk for rehabilitation staff and preserving vital medical PPE for other uses. Dr. Tomoko Sakai, director of the rehabilitation center, explains, "The role of the rehabilitation center is important for recovering COVID-19 patients because of their tendency to develop thrombosis (blood clots) and cerebral infarctions (strokes)." This rehabilitation program has been well received by many patients as a way to help improve muscle strength, relieve stress, and facilitate psychological care.
Joint Research Background
In order to perform this kind of rehabilitation treatment, the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine of TMDU Medical Hospital proposed to incorporate the wearable headset system in joint research with Kyocera. The project is aimed at bringing remote telemedicine to rehabilitation for patients with COVID-19, and has started preparation for clinical research on the wearable headset system.
Benefits of Introducing a Headset System
A prototype in development can allow healthcare providers to check patient biometrics, such as blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) during rehabilitation in real time while communicating over standard wireless phone networks.
It also allows medical professionals a more thorough evaluation and shortening the time of medical care. The new headset system incorporates bone-conduction audio technology instead of a traditional microphone and loudspeaker. This technology helps cancel unwanted ambient noise while letting patients move their limbs freely during exercise. Future development goals include miniaturizing the headset to allow convenient, real-time biometric monitoring of patients during at-home recuperation.
Kyocera Corporation and TMDU will continue the trial operation in Japan to verify the effectiveness of remote medical care and rehabilitation for patients and examine the system's potential for treating other ailments.