Researchers from the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and the College of Engineering have developed technology to track motions while people exercise and provide feedback to patients as they recover from injuries or illnesses to reduce the chances of future injuries and re-hospitalization.
“If you go to a gym now, there is either no feedback or it is static,” Gregory Alexander, assistant professor of nursing, stated in a university press release. “This technology is interactive because it tracks motion that patients can actually see.”
The images provided by the motion tracking technology give detailed data that will help patients, physicians and therapists better visualize movements as patients exercise. This visualization will allow physicians and therapists to monitor recovery and adapt treatment plans, as well as give the patient a better picture of movements that may be potentially dangerous, according to the release.
“Previous studies have conducted similar research in laboratory settings,” Tim Havens, PhD, stated. “Our system is unique because it extracts data out of images collected from participants in a real environment without changing the scene.”
In the future, this technology will help health care providers stay connected with patients after they are discharged from the hospital, the researchers noted. The technology can easily be set up in patients’ homes to provide feedback and encouragement to improve their workouts or rehabilitation routines. It also can send messages about patients’ progress to physicians in order to make better treatment decisions for patients who are far away and have less frequent office visits.
“Integrating engineering data with health data gives you a much more powerful ability to make a clinical decision,” Alexander stated.