Posts Tagged Telemedicine

[Abstract] A Telehealth Approach to Caregiver Self-Management Following Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Objective: To determine whether a telephone-based, individualized education and mentored problem-solving intervention would improve outcomes for caregivers of persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Design: Parallel group, randomized controlled trial with blinded outcome assessment.

Setting: General community.

Participants: A total of 153 caregivers (mean age = 49.7 years; 82% female; 54% spouses/partners, 35% parents) of persons with moderate to severe TBI who received acute and/or rehabilitation care at a level I trauma center. Eighty-two percent of participants were evaluated at 6-month follow-up.

Intervention: Individualized education and mentored problem-solving intervention focused on caregivers’ primary concerns delivered via up to 10 telephone calls at 2-week intervals.

Main Outcome Measures: Composite of Bakas Caregiving Outcomes Scale (BCOS) and Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18) at 6 months post-TBI survivor discharge. Secondary measures included the Brief COPE.

Results: Caregivers in the treatment arm scored higher on the BCOS-BSI composite (P = .032), with more active coping (P = .020) and less emotional venting (P = .028) as measured by the Brief COPE.

Conclusions: An individualized education and mentored problem-solving approach delivered via telephone in the first few months following community discharge of the TBI survivor resulted in better caregiver outcomes than usual care. Consideration should be given to using this approach to augment the limited support typically offered to caregivers.

Source: A Telehealth Approach to Caregiver Self-Management Following… : The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation

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[Abstract] H-GRASP: the feasibility of an upper limb home exercise program monitored by phone for individuals post stroke


Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of a phone-monitored home exercise program for the upper limb following stroke.
Methods: A pre-post double baseline repeated measures design was used. Participants completed an 8-week home exercise program that included behavioural strategies to promote greater use of the affected upper limb. Participants were monitored weekly by therapists over the phone. The following feasibility outcomes were collected: Process (e.g. recruitment rate); Resources (e.g. exercise adherence rate); Management (e.g. therapist monitoring) and Scientific (e.g. safety, effect sizes). Clinical outcomes included: The Chedoke Arm and Hand Inventory, Motor Activity Log, grip strength and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure.
Results: Eight individuals with stroke were recruited and six participants completed the exercise program. All but one of the six participants met the exercise target of 60 minutes/day, 6 days/week. Participants were stable across the baseline period. The following post-treatment effect sizes were observed: CAHAI (0.944, p = 0.046); MALQ (0.789, p = 0.03) grip strength (0.947, p = 0.046); COPM (0.789, p = 0.03). Improvements were maintained at three and six month follow ups.
Conclusions: Community dwelling individuals with stroke may benefit from a phone-monitored upper limb home exercise program that includes behavioural strategies that promote transfer of exercise gains into daily upper limb use.

  • Implications for Rehabilitation

  • A repetitive, task-oriented home exercise program that utilizes telephone supervision may be an effective method for the treatment of the upper limb following stroke

  • This program is best suited for individuals with mild to moderate level impairment and experience a sufficient level of challenge from the exercises

  • An exercise program that includes behavioural strategies may promote transfer of exercise gains into greater use of the affected upper limb during daily activities

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[ARTICLE] Multimedia and Gaming Technologies for Telerehabilitation of Motor Disabilities- IEEE Xplore, Full-Text PDF

Rehabilitation for chronic conditions resulting from acute or progressive disease might be delivered in an outpatient facility as in the case of telerehabilitation, selfrehabilitation and, more generally, in the context of home-based rehabilitation to improve the patients’ quality of life.

Here we present the emerging field of home-based applications for continuous digital health, focusing in particular on low-cost rehabilitation systems for motor disabilities based on multimedia and gaming technologies. Innovative technologies for telerehabilitation are illustrated. We also present recent advances in telerehabilitation, considering the most relevant projects that best represent new trends for research and development of new technologies and applications in this context. Telerehabilitation (TRH) is the provision of rehabilitation services at a distance using information and communication technologies (ICT) [1]. TRH services might be needed for diagnosis, assessment, consultations, and monitoring, as well as to supervise therapies or therapeutic settings or to propose interactive therapies. Rather than being described as a super specialization of rehabilitation, therefore, TRH should be viewed as an alternative way to deliver rehabilitation services, particularly suited for chronic conditions that might benefit from home-based care. It has been demonstrated, in fact, that improving motor function, a major goal of any rehabilitative treatment, should be pursued even in the chronic stages of disabling condition, like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, for which telemedicine could be seen as a great opportunity to allow remote diagnosis and clinical monitoring.

The aim of this article is to present the emerging field of homebased applications for continuous digital health, focusing in particular on low-cost TRH systems for motor disabilities that adopt diffused ICT for gaming and multimedia as well as the networking connection…

Get IEEE Xplore Full-Text PDF

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[Abstract] Home-based telesurveillance and rehabilitation after stroke: a real-life study



Home-based telesurveillance and rehabilitation after stroke: a real-life studyBackground: After discharge from in-hospital rehabilitation, post-stroke patients should have the opportunity to continue the rehabilitation through structured programs to maintain the benefits acquired during intensive rehabilitation treatment.

Objective: The primary objective was to evaluate the feasibility of implementing an home-based telesurveillance and rehabilitation (HBTR) program to optimize the patient’s recovery by reducing dependency degree.

Method: Post-stroke patients were consecutively screened. Data were expressed as mean ±  standard deviation (SD). 26 patients enrolled: 15 were sub-acute (time since stroke: 112 ± 39 days) and 11 were chronic (time since stroke: 470 ± 145 days). For 3 months patients were followed at home by a nurse-tutor, who provided structured phone support and vital signs telemonitoring, and by a physiotherapist (PT) who monitored rehabilitation sessions by videoconferencing.

Results: 23 patients completed the program; 16.7 ± 5.2 phone contacts/patient were initiated by the nurse and 0.9 ± 1.8 by the patients. Eight episodes of atrial fibrillation that required a change in therapy were recorded in two patients. Physiotherapists performed 1.2 ± 0.4 home visits, 1.6 ± 0.9 phone calls and 4.5 ± 2.8 videoconference-sessions per patient. At least three sessions/week of home exercises were performed by 31% of patients, two sessions by 54%. At the end of the program, global functional capacity improved significantly (P < 0.001), in particular, static (P < 0.001) and dynamic (P = 0.0004) postural balance, upper limb dexterity of the paretic side (P = 0.01), and physical performance (P = 0.002). Symptoms of depression and caregiver strain also improved.

Conclusion: The home-based program was feasible and effective in both sub-acute and chronic post-stroke patients, improving their recovery, and maintaining the benefits reached during inpatient rehabilitation

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Source: Taylor & Francis Online

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[ARTICLE] Feasibility study into self-administered training at home using an arm and hand device with motivational gaming environment in chronic stroke – Full Text HTML/PDF


Background: Assistive and robotic training devices are increasingly used for rehabilitation of the hemiparetic arm after stroke, although applications for the wrist and hand are trailing behind. Furthermore, applying a training device in domestic settings may enable an increased training dose of functional arm and hand training. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and potential clinical changes associated with a technology-supported arm and hand training system at home for patients with chronic stroke.

Methods: A dynamic wrist and hand orthosis was combined with a remotely monitored user interface with motivational gaming environment for self-administered training at home. Twenty-four chronic stroke patients with impaired arm/hand function were recruited to use the training system at home for six weeks. Evaluation of feasibility involved training duration, usability and motivation. Clinical outcomes on arm/hand function, activity and participation were assessed before and after six weeks of training and at two-month follow-up.

Results: Mean System Usability Scale score was 69 % (SD 17 %), mean Intrinsic Motivation Inventory score was 5.2 (SD 0.9) points, and mean training duration per week was 105 (SD 66) minutes. Median Fugl-Meyer score improved from 37 (IQR 30) pre-training to 41 (IQR 32) post-training and was sustained at two-month follow-up (40 (IQR 32)). The Stroke Impact Scale improved from 56.3 (SD 13.2) pre-training to 60.0 (SD 13.9) post-training, with a trend at follow-up (59.8 (SD 15.2)). No significant improvements were found on the Action Research Arm Test and Motor Activity Log.

Conclusions: Remotely monitored post-stroke training at home applying gaming exercises while physically supporting the wrist and hand showed to be feasible: participants were able and motivated to use the training system independently at home. Usability shows potential, although several usability issues need further attention. Upper extremity function and quality of life improved after training, although dexterity did not. These findings indicate that home-based arm and hand training with physical support from a dynamic orthosis is a feasible tool to enable self-administered practice at home. Such an approach enables practice without dependence on therapist availability, allowing an increase in training dose with respect to treatment in supervised settings.

Continue —> JNER | Full text | Feasibility study into self-administered training at home using an arm and hand device with motivational gaming environment in chronic stroke

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[WEB SITE] Out on a limb: Hands-free therapy | Lower Extremity Review Magazine

By Jordana Bieze Foster, Editor

1Limb-JordanaMy former company launched a publication called Telehealth in 1998. Nearly two decades later, that magazine no longer exists, and telemedicine hasn’t revolutionized healthcare the way some thought it would. But advances are being made, and researchers are demonstrating that the potential applications for remote healthcare include disciplines that have always been considered “hands on.”

The publishing group that launched Telehealth had its roots in the world of radiology—a specialty for which working remotely makes all kinds of sense. With the right transmission and viewing equipment, most diagnostic images can be interpreted from anywhere in the world, and few patients are expecting to have face time with their radiologist. So, it’s not surprising that radiology remains a telemedicine trailblazer today, with some radiology practices now based entirely on remote image interpretations.

It’s not a huge leap from the remote assessment of radiographs, magnetic resonance images, and computed tomography scans to the remote assessment of diabetic wounds (see “Telemedicine: Bringing diabetic foot care to the small screen,” January 2015, page 14). Not only can telehealth technology minimize the need for patients with diabetic ulcers—who shouldn’t be ambulating more than necessary and definitely shouldn’t be driving—to make an in-person clinic visit just to check the status of a wound, clini­cians can provide informational and motivational consultations via cellphone, Skype, or other cyber-modalities.

Physical therapy and telemedicine, however, would seem to be mutually exclusive. Few clinicians have historically been more hands-on than physical therapists. How effective could a virtual physical therapist possibly be? Surprisingly effective, as it turns out.

In a recent Canadian study, two-month functional outcomes were similar for total knee replacement surgery patients who received either remote physical therapy or in-person therapy sessions (see “Telerehabilitation after TKA,” page 15). But the two experiences differed in significant ways. Unable to perform hands-on adjust­ments or manipulations on patients, the remote therapists had to be able to effectively explain how to do exercises correctly and how patients could perform basic versions of therapies like massage on themselves. The remote therapists also had to master the technical aspects of the video system, including panning, tilting, zooming, and using an on-screen goniometer.

It’s a somewhat different skill set than that required for conven­tional physical therapy. Not every clinician will excel at both versions of their job, and not every patient will respond equally to both types of treatment. It will take a lot more research to determine which conditions and which patients are the best candidates for telerehabilitation. And then, of course, there are reimbursement issues to be hammered out.

But the possibilities are exciting. Not only does telerehabilitation have the potential to make therapy more accessible to patients, it also has the potential to make careers in physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine more accessible to individuals with disabilities who aren’t physically able to provide hands-on treatment.

Lower extremity clinicians won’t be as quick to embrace tele­medicine as radiologists have been, and for good reasons. But now that the telehealth trail has been blazed, smart practitioners will be thinking about where that path might ultimately lead them.

Source: Out on a limb: Hands-free therapy | Lower Extremity Review Magazine

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[WEB SITE] This nurse makes house calls, thanks to Kinect for Windows

Telemedicine has become one of the hot trends in healthcare, with more and more patients and doctors using smartphones and tablets to exchange medical information. The convenience of not having to travel to the doctor’s office or clinic is a big part of the appeal—as is the relief of not wasting valuable time thumbing through outdated waiting-room magazines when an appointment runs late. And for patients living in isolated or underserved areas, telemedicine offers care that might otherwise be unattainable. Despite these advantages, telemedicine can be coldly impersonal, lacking the comfort of interacting with another human being.

Silicon Valley-based is working to bring a human face to telemedicine. The company’s Kinect-powered “nurse avatar” provides personalized patient monitoring and follow-up care—not to mention a friendly, smiling face that converses with patients in an incredibly lifelike manner. The nurse avatar, affectionately nicknamed Molly, has access to a patient’s records and asks appropriate questions related directly to the patient’s past history or present complaints. She has a pleasant, caring demeanor that puts patients at ease. Interacting with her seems surprisingly natural, which, of course, is the goal.

By using Kinect for Windows technology, enables Molly to recognize and respond to her patient’s visual and spoken inputs. The patient stands or sits in from of a Kinect sensor, which captures his or her image and sends it to Molly. Does the patient have knee pain? She can show Molly exactly where it hurts. Is the patient undergoing treatment for bursitis that limits his range of motion? He can raise his affected arm and show Molly whether his therapy is achieving results. In fact, the Kinect sensor’s skeletal tracking capabilities allow to measure the patient’s range of motion and to calculate how it has changed from his last session. What’s more, with Kinect providing a clear view of the patient, Molly can help guide him or her through therapeutic exercises.

A growing number doctors and hospitals are recognizing the value of applications such as In fact, the San Mateo Medical Center is one of several major hospitals that have recently added Molly to their staff, so to speak. The value of such solutions is particularly striking in handling patients who suffer from long-term conditions that require frequent monitoring, such high blood pressure or diabetes.

Solutions like also provide a clear cost benefit for providers and insurers, as treating a patient remotely is less costly and generally more efficient than onsite care. In a recent pilot program, the use of reduced patient calls by 28 percent and freed up nearly a fifth of their day for the clinicians involved in the program.

Most importantly,’s Kinect-powered nurse avatar offers the promise of better health outcomes, the result of more frequent medical monitoring and of patients’ increased involvement in their own care. Something to think about the next time you’re stuck in the doctor’s waiting room.

via This nurse makes house calls, thanks to Kinect for Windows – Kinect for Windows Product Blog – Site Home – MSDN Blogs.

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[ARTICLE] A Telehealth Approach to Improving Outcomes for Caregivers of Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury

…Conclusions. An individualized mentored problem-solving and education approach delivered via telephone in the first few months after TBI survivor community discharge resulted in better quality of life/emotional well-being for caregivers. Consideration should be given to using this approach to augment the support typically offered caregivers…

via A Telehealth Approach to Improving Outcomes for Caregivers of Adults With Traumatic Brain Injury – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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