With an aging population, demands for health services are increasing around the world. To address this challenge—one that’s shared around the world—Denmark is always looking for innovative ways to care for its growing elderly population efficiently and cost-effectively. In five years, there will be 20 percent more elderly people in Denmark to care for, according to Statistics Denmark, a Danish governmental organization.
Toward that end, the Danish Technological Institute asked Welfare Denmark to create an interactive platform that would enable citizens to perform rehabilitative exercises at home, at work, or in community centers. A Microsoft CityNext partner, Welfare Denmark provides forward-thinking, user-friendly welfare technology solutions for healthcare.
In collaboration with scientists and physiotherapists, Welfare Denmark built Virtual Rehabilitation, a device based on Microsoft Kinect for Windows that works with Microsoft Lync 2010 and Skype federation. It includes software that guides patients through rehabilitation exercises, monitors and corrects their movements in real time, and makes it possible for healthcare practitioners to see whether patients have completed their therapies. To see how it works, check out this two-minute video.
The first municipality to adopt Virtual Rehabilitation was Esbjerg, Denmark, which was followed by another 20 Danish municipalities that have bought the solution. And countries across the globe are making inquiries. No surprise that Virtual Rehabilitation is receiving so much interest since it offers many benefits for communities and their citizens, including:
Improved outcomes. Because Virtual Rehabilitation enables health professionals to remotely track a patient’s movements and help ensure that the patient is doing exercises correctly and consistently, it can improve the chances of successful rehabilitation and speed recovery.
Reduced costs. Just one example: In Esbjerg, a 73-year old man successfully used the solution and, over a three-month period, the municipality saved nearly $2,500. Without Virtual Rehabilitation, the cost to the municipality, which pays for patient care, would have been $1,955 for two home visits per month by referred therapists, and $1,400 for five days at a rehabilitation center—a total of $3,355. With Virtual Rehabilitation, the total cost of licenses plus two online consultations per month with referred therapists was $898, a savings of $2,457.
Increased access to healthcare. The Virtual Rehabilitation solution can allow patients to get professional help with their physical therapy from home, work, or a community center. This can improve quality of life for people with disabilities or chronic conditions and enable aging citizens to live at home longer. Today the solution is used for elder care, but it can also be used to treat occupational and other injuries, or to provide proactive care or training.
Virtual Rehabilitation is a great example of people-first innovation that’s enabling Danish municipalities to do “new with less” and improve the care and health of its citizens. To learn more, check out the case study. And check back here as we continue to share examples of how the global CityNext initiative empowers governments, organizations, and citizens to create healthier, more sustainable communities.
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