Virtual Rehab Clinic To Help Patients In Rural Australia
A virtual rehabilitation clinic developed by University of Queensland researchers called the eHAB® telehealth system is helping to treat patients in remote and regional Australia.
AsianScientist (Jun. 27, 2011) - A virtual rehabilitation clinic developed by University of Queensland (UQ) researchers is helping to treat patients in remote and regional Australia.
Called the eHAB® telehealth system, UQ's main commercialization company, UniQuest, and start-up company, NeoRehab Pty Ltd, are developing and marketing the system for allied health professionals.
The eHAB® system was developed over 11 years by University of Queensland Telerehabilitation Research Unit co-directors, Dr. Trevor Russell and Professor Deborah Theodoros.
Unlike other videoconferencing tools, eHAB™ boasts a large array of measurement tools which enables the health specialist to perform real-time objective evaluation of their clients. These include a motion analysis suite which allows measurements of angular displacement and linear distance to help the operator quantify, for example, a joint's range of motion. A suite of speech and language assessment tools also come in handy for doctors and speech pathologists for making speech assessments across the live telerehabilitation link.
Dr. Russell, who was awarded a Young Tall Poppy Award in 2010 for his work developing the virtual rehabilitation clinic, hopes to the technology will be adopted internationally. He said the eHAB® system would be used to make hundreds, if not thousands, of calls to diagnose and treat Australian patients in 2011.
“Healthcare providers are genuinely excited about eHAB® because, finally, there's a clinically proven technology they can use to deliver quality, and in some cases better, care via the Internet for physiotherapy, audiology, speech therapy, and occupational therapy,” he said.
“In Australia, it can be frustratingly difficult to treat regional, remote and even house-bound urban patients with conventional face-to-face consultations because the distances are just too large and we don't have enough medical staff.”
NeoRehab is in the final stages of developing the eHAB® system for large-scale production.
UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said the company was also seeking investment to refine eHAB® and enter international markets.
“NeoRehab has been extremely successful in securing grants to take it through initial product development and clinical trials,” said Henderson.
“It's now looking to launch the technology globally in the next year. The eHAB® system and its advanced software tools are proven in the field. Upgrading the current hardware to make it smaller, more portable and cheaper for customers is the next step, along with actively marketing the system, and securing regulatory approval for key markets such as the U.S.,” he said.
NeoRehab was awarded a 2011 ‘What's Your Big Idea Queensland' grant in April. It is also one of 50 innovations and ventures UniQuest will be promoting at this year's BIO Convention in Washington DC, the largest annual industry meeting of its kind in the world.
Source: The University of Queensland.
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