Tech designed to address lack of access to rehab specialists in rural Alberta
The robotics lab at the University of Alberta has developed technology to connect rural patients with rehabilitation specialists hundreds of kilometres away.
Tele-Rehab 2.0 uses what's called virtual rehabilitation platform, or VRP.
The system sends data collected from motion capture, sensors and cameras to a clinician in a city, who then assesses the patient.
"We are collecting data that we don’t collect in face-to-face assessment," said U of A rehab medicine professor Martin Ferguson-Pell.
The technology aims to address the fact that 24 per cent of Albertans live outside major cities. The Tele-Rehab team estimates about one million people in the province don't have access to specialized rehabilitation services in their own communities.
As well, Ferguson-Pell expects Tele-Rehab 2.0 "to improve our ability to demonstrate the value of these kinds of assessments, not just for patients in rural and remote Alberta but also in face- to-face assessments as well."
Tele-Rehab 2.0 will first be put to work in Jasper, Grande Prairie and Peace River in March.