"Putting patients at the center of modern rehabilitation"
"Putting patients at the center of modern rehabilitation"
Rehabilitation is a process where many aspects must flow well together to ultimately achieve the success patients and their therapists crave. These days, this also includes systems that are designed to make the work of the therapist easier and motivate the patient. Needless to say, robot-assisted therapy must be able to meet the requirements of individual rehabilitation. It is key that manufacturers and therapists team up and collaborate. As is the case with the Graz-based company Tyromotion.
In this interview with REHACARE.com, CEO David Ram talks about the advantages of robot-assisted rehabilitation, reveals the secret of Tyromotion’s success and explains why this type of therapy will not and doesn’t intend to replace the work of therapists.
Mr. Ram, what are the advantages of robot-assisted therapy in the rehabilitation realm?
David Ram: Robot-assisted therapy offers a variety of applications and a multitude of benefits. Our robot-assisted and sensor-based equipment can be operated by occupational and physical therapists alike and doesn’t take much time to set up, which increases the actual therapy time spent with each patient.
Rehabilitation patients often have big goals but typically only make small progress. Thanks to accurate assessments of the therapy sessions, even the smallest progress becomes visible for patients, which significantly boosts motivation. Integrated therapeutic games also keep patients motivated and encourage them to do more repetitions. The patient’s focus turns away from therapy and to the therapeutic games, which causes pain and limitations to take a back seat, allowing therapy to become more motivating and challenging.
Unlike therapists, robot-assisted therapy devices don’t fatigue and always perform movements with the same intensity and frequency. However, the purpose of these devices is not to replace therapists. Robot-assisted therapy is a valuable addition that supports therapists and enables them to focus more on the patient. Tyromotion provides a complete solution that enables physicians and therapists to take advantage of these benefits and offer their patients effective and reliable therapy concepts. Our devices support therapists in working with their patients in an efficient and motivating manner.
Which patients are best suited for this type of therapy and what has your experience been in terms of implementation into practice/clinical practice?
Ram: Our therapy devices are suited for patients of all ages with a variety of diagnoses including strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and musculoskeletal indications. The combination of proximal and distal treatment approaches offers passive, assistive and active treatment options for upper and lower extremities that cover all degrees of motor impairment (severe, moderate, mild) during all phases of rehabilitation (acute, subacute, chronic). Studies for the acute, subacute and chronic phases, as well as patients with neurological and orthopedic disorders, substantiate the research findings in practical settings. Virtually every patient can use our devices for targeted training of mobility, strength, and cognitive performance to increase independent living skills.
How can rehabilitation measures be individually tailored to patients with Tyromotion products?
Ram: Tyromotion’s "Tyrotherapy" approach puts patients at the center of all rehabilitation measures. That’s why the therapies can be custom-tailored to the patient’s needs, performance level, and situation. This includes ergonomic device settings, adjustments in weight unloading to individual settings for therapy games. In just a few steps, a number of parameters can be adapted to the goals and performance level of the patient to make sure he/she is not overloaded or underchallenged. Our goal is to make therapy challenging yet motivating – and to keep things right at the individual performance limit.
Rehabilitation for the whole body: The wireless PABLO sensor handle is a hand-arm therapy and assessment device in one and enables the training of all grip forms. But the built-in sensors also allow the tracking of the range of force and movement of the hand and arm.
How do the patients – and especially older patients – respond to the rehabilitation measures?
Ram: Our robot-assisted and sensor-based rehabilitation measures are very well accepted, even by older patients. Although patients are initially skeptical, they quickly overcome their fears thanks to conversations with the therapist and by trying out the devices. Needless to say, there are patients who dislike robot-assisted exercises, as is the case with all types of therapies. But typically, therapy is very well accepted. For the most part, even older patients have only a few reservations that dissipate after a short period of adjustment. Especially in a time when smartphones, tablets, and other electronic helpers are an essential part of everyday life of young and old, the fear of trying out robot-assisted and sensor-based therapy systems is minimal. Oftentimes, older patients are actually excited to use the devices, so they can tell their children and grandchildren all about it. The pride of having successfully worked with the latest equipment is an added motivation for patients to fully commit and engage in therapy. Thanks to the option of making tiring rehabilitation exercises more exciting and motivating through therapy games usually makes them overcome any lingering doubts they may have.
These types of robot-assisted and sensor-based systems are certainly expensive, which is why only major hospitals are able to afford them. Though it’s rude to talk about money, what is the price point of Tyromotion’s therapy devices?
Ram: The pricing of our devices is at the discretion of the distribution partners in each country. It’s important to note that our product series is modular, allowing us to offer both comprehensive total solutions for hospitals and clinical centers and cost-effective solutions for small therapists’ offices.
Tyromotion is one of the leading manufacturers of robot-assisted and computer-aided therapy devices in the world. What is the secret to your success?
Ram: Tyromotion’s goal is to improve each day. We are committed to supporting people in becoming better at what they do. This includes both patients and therapists in rehabilitation, as well as our employees and distribution and service partners in their day-to-day work. This is the only way to fulfill our mission and meet the highest quality and customer satisfaction standards.
Our motivated, dynamic and multidisciplinary team is dedicated to combining technology, therapy, and motivation and provide the most effective and efficient rehabilitation measures for patients and therapists.
Our research and development budget of nearly 25 percent shows the high priority the development of functional and effective devices has in our company. The devices are co-developed by therapists and may only be used by trained therapists, which ensures premium quality therapy. Tyromotion also works very closely with leading hospitals and clinical facilities and university research institutes in the field of neurorehabilitation to allow us to always stay one step ahead of technological advances. Thanks to our collaborative efforts with leading rehabilitation clinics, we receive continuous feedback on our devices straight from the practical realm. The "Designed & Made in Austria" label is highly regarded all over the world. This is also reflected in the fact that seven out of the top ten rehabilitation clinics in the U.S. use technologies made by Tyromotion.
The robotic and computer-assisted therapy device AMADEO is suitable for all phases of finger-hand rehabilitation: If the range of motion of the fingers is limited, exercises help to improve motor- and sensory functions. Finger movements stimulate the brain and the neoformation of synapses.
What does modern rehabilitation mean to you?
Ram: We are committed to communicating the importance of a comprehensive therapeutic approach. Modern rehabilitation puts patients center stage and requires a multidisciplinary team that collaborates to achieve the patient’s goals. Each patient has strengths and challenges that can be effectively harnessed and explored. The rehabilitation process is usually slow and arduous, which is why maintaining patient motivation is a key factor in whether therapy is successful. Progressive rehabilitation is not just based on state-of-the-art therapy equipment, it also requires "human-machine interaction": the experience and expert knowledge of therapists supports robot and sensor-assisted therapy devices. Tyromotion devices help both patients and therapists to be motivated and enjoy therapy and get better every day.