March 31, 2022 by Dr. Matt Litchfield, PT, DPT
It's hard to talk changes in healthcare without a COVID reference. Healthcare access and delivery has been changed, and there is no going back. Telehealth has widely been used across different platforms of medical service, all with tremendous success. When the pandemic first started it changed the way we view the regulations and barriers that individuals might face, but also for organizations. As red tape was removed, and increased access flourished, many patients now have gotten a glimmer of what digital health can be. Digital health will not eradicate all of healthcare, at least not in our lifetimes. With the advent of integrated artificial intelligence and other analytical technologies, the doctor of the future is looking more and more electronic. It’s easy to get lost in the utopia that technology could offer in the distant future, but the truth is, we have a lot of it today.
Motion capture has started to enter the rehab and fitness space, but currently is limited by being too expensive and bulky. With a smartphone anyone could do 2D analysis, and they’re some great apps out there that allow you to have a better understanding of running and body mechanics. The problem is, you must know what you're looking at, or better yet, what you're looking for. This has limited the utility of the programs to trained professionals, and sometimes the armchair enthusiast. Other areas are virtual and augmented reality, but these have very limited viability. The biggest population is on patients in hospitals and nursing homes, mainly focused on how to bring rehab to those that cannot make it traditionally. The potential being quite minimal today but offers some in the distant future. Not to mention, it doesn't help with one of the biggest hurdles that digital health to offer, ease of access. When it comes to Physical Therapy, the field is limited to its one-on-one interaction and will always be constricted unless it goes digital. With Yogger, you’ll be able to take the years of experience required to properly analyze and perform movement analysis and put it in your fingertips. This is what Yogger has for today, and a vision for the future of digital health.
Current physical therapy practice has not changed for many years. Although continued research and an evidence-based approach has honed and allowed for a more effective treatment, it will always be limited to its physical restriction. With the advent of both 2D and 3D motion capture, biomechanical analysis that doesn't require tens of thousands of dollars of equipment is within our reach. Current standards of practice utilize goniometer's and inclinometer's, and although efficient with experience, variance in interrater reliability persists. The body does not move one joint at a time, and it's time to start analyzing the complete picture.
Yogger is pioneering its technology to not only aid in current practice but make space for the future. You won't need any fancy technology; all you’ll need is your phone. This simple technology will be able to give high level analysis with the click of a button. You'll be able to not only understand that you're doing the exercise correctly, get feedback on where you could improve, but all importantly track your progress to see the change. Here are some of the current physical therapy and fitness applications.
Dynamic assessment of multiple joints and how they work together to understand your efficiency with every step. You’ll be able to analyze how your upper and lower body interact, as well it changes with the cadence of the fly.
Formal testing in Physical Therapy plays a role in functional assessment of movement patterns. It will also help improve the standardization from one clinician to another, as well as provide visual feedback on performance versus subjective reports.
Range of motion analysis
A wide variety of joint assessment, which can be measured both statically or dynamically. This provides countless opportunities to understand if a certain activity is not going well, and what the actual problem is. You might be able to get to a certain position in an exercise, but when you don’t understand what’s moving, or better yet what isn’t moving, injuries often occur.
Patient and Client tracking
Being able to understand where you were will only help to know if you’re going in the right direction. A thorough examination will help during the analysis of even the slightest change. The ability to track your progress and develop trends will aid in the confidence derived in knowing when you’re feeling better, you’re better. Future Implications of this technology will leverage the field of biomechanical and movement analysis by combining the power of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and treatment algorithms. Physical therapy and physical fitness is destined to change. Not only will it change the accuracy of the work being done today, by being able to provide more streamlined and efficient analysis. It will be able to provide a platform for the future, closing the information and skill gap for every individual. This will allow for more time doing the things that make a difference in the clinic, and less time using outdated equipment and practices that have not changed for decades. Fitness individuals will also be able to have high level feedback at their fingertips, being able to provide confidence to all individuals that they always have a professional by their side.