Computer vision benefits for MSK rehabilitation

Computer vision benefits for MSK rehabilitation

Physical therapy is a weighty part of value-added patient treatment from diverse musculoskeletal conditions. These comprise chronic conditions (muscle and ligament strain, arthritis, tendinitis), sport injuries, and other MSK problems.

Posture tracking and analysis can guide and correct patients through prescribed exercises providing insights. This has been traditionally done using additional equipment (sensors, markers), paper-based instructions, regular videos displayed on personal computers, and resource-intense, in-person appointments. 

Not anymore!

In today’s dynamic world, artificial intelligence is transforming physical therapy.

Modern-day technology such as computer vision drives remote physical therapy by providing:

  • Accurate assessment
  • Personalized guidance and feedback
  • Data digitalization and processing
  • Data sharing and storing

Market overview

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth usage has surged and proved to support healthcare delivery. Qualified professionals have indicated that technology enabled them to deliver high-quality care to patients while maintaining social distancing.

In 2021, as stated by McKinsey, telehealth usage has stabilized at levels 38X higher than before the outbursts. Some changes that supported rising digitization – for example, the expansion of reimbursement by the Medicare & Medicaid Services – have been made permanent.

According to the conducted Global Medical Trends Survey:

  • Cancer, cardiovascular, as well as common musculoskeletal conditions are the leading conditions by cost of claims
  • When looking beyond 2021, over two-thirds of respondents are expecting those costs to rise over the next years 
Telehealth usage statistics among patients

According to recent research, 78% of surveyed patients are satisfied with virtual healthcare delivery:

  • 58% of all respondents in the United States are now being offered telehealth services
  • 74% of all respondents are open to using telehealth services
  • Of those who have already tried digital services, 78% are very satisfied with the new experience
  • Insurance companies have covered digital services for about 60% of surveyed respondents

As innovation and telerehabilitation rapidly evolve, public and private clinics, physical therapists, and patients are welcoming digital transformation to enhance healthcare outcomes.

The numbers are promising:

CV-based body pose detection and analysis adding value to traditional physical therapy

Chronic conditions burden millions but accessing insight-driven and long-term treatment remains challenging. Gold-standard approaches include exhausting physical therapy, behavioral changes, and not always convenient in-person visits.

On the other hand, modern technology is transforming physical therapy, benefiting both healthcare providers and patients.

Key benefits of body pose estimation particularly for healthcare providers

  • 1,5-3X ROI – MSK telehealth drastically transforms resource allocation by empowering accurate, therapists’ schedule independent patient guidance and monitoring
  • Saving up to 40% therapists’ hours per week – MSK computer vision technology automates repeated, resource-intensive routines, freeing up valuable hours
  • Up to 1,6X more patient admission by saving employee hours spent on in-person appointments
  • About 27% faster patient recovery, which facilitates brand reputation and drives patient reach

Which accelerate:

  • Business productivity
  • Risk management
  • Patient care and recovery
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty

Key benefits for patients

  • More independence during home-based MSK therapy
  • Accurate assessment of obtained MSK benefits
  • Simple use
  • No sensors or additional physical equipment
  • Easy review and tracking 
  • Accurate diagnosing and treatment
  • Enhanced engagement and motivation
  • Ensured security 

Which streamline:

  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Functional mobility
  • Injury prevention
  • Pain management

Exploring markerless body assessment and analysis

By leveraging advanced techniques, such as feature extraction, pose estimation, activity assessment, and more, computer vision can recognize and analyze human bodies and objects without utilizing additional equipment. This promises great opportunities for the healthcare industry, in particular MSK rehabilitation.

By using computer vision, physical therapists can eliminate excessive hardware and enjoy valuable insights, providing value-added MSK rehabilitation.

How does CV-based human body assessment actually work?

  1. Data extraction – real-time or pre-recorded input is taken as the information source
  2. Feature extraction – feature analysis and extraction 
  3. Motion detection – posture analysis through mapping or using other techniques
  4. Movement analysis – pattern analysis through angle/velocity/acceleration/trajectory change tracking 

The techniques that might be used for more accurate assessment:

  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN)
  • Temporal Convolutional Networks (TCN)
  • Graph Convolutional Networks (GCN)
  • Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN)
  • Single-person pose estimation
  • Multi-person pose estimation
  • Heatmap-based pose estimation
  • Skeleton-based pose estimation

Enhancing telerehabilitation by introducing computer vision 

The benefits of telerehabilitation:

  • No intrusiveness – with markerless pose estimation, professionals eliminate specialized equipment, making rehabilitation more comfortable 
  • Cost efficiency – utilizing markerless pose estimation, organizations optimize resource allocation, typically requiring costly implementation and maintenance
  • Greater mobility –  pose detection helps patients move freely without being physically restricted, enabling them to perform various musculoskeletal rehabilitation exercises 
  • Enhanced accessibility –  pose detection is deployed in clinics, rehab centers, and even at home, providing MSK rehabilitation online

The pitfalls to mention:

  • Limited accuracy – described approaches may have some limitations when capturing complex moves
  • Environmental dependency – those approaches rely on various factors:
    • Camera positioning
    • Lighting conditions
    • Background clutter
    • Clothing variations
Human body pose detection
We deliver scalable solutions that enable remote rehabilitation!

Digital rehabilitation to improve patient experience & engagement

Real-time feedback 

Real-time feedback, both visual and auditory, provides patients with informative visual and audio instructions. This allows making adjustments and corrections on movements, posture, positioning, and performance, accelerating MSK physical therapy.

This supports:

  • Better understanding of the to-be-performed exercise to facilitate MSK therapy
  • Immediate improvement to prevent potential injuries and drive MSK benefits
  • Great encouragement and motivation
  • More satisfaction and adherence to the prescribed program
MSK rehabilitation app – real-time feedback

Greater accessibility

Flexible access efficiently eliminates various problems – appointment availability, time, cost, and rescheduling. This enables the patient to prioritize physical health without compromising other aspects of life. 

This means:

  • Convenient scheduling
  • Improved continuity
  • Reduced barriers and skipping
  • Increased adherence and outcomes

Virtual coaching and gamification

Virtual coaching and gamification provide guidance and support replacing human physiotherapy professionals. Elements like progress tracking, challenges, rewards, and feedback create interesting, enjoyable experiences, streamlining MSK physical therapy.

This creates:

  • A comfortable virtual environment
  • A sense of competition and achievement

Customizable programs

Customizable programs give patients the opportunity to take more control over their rehabilitation journey. Customization capabilities might enable goal setting, performance monitoring, progress tracking, and more, using devices of choice – smartphone, tablet, or web-based telehealth platform.

This allows to seamlessly:

  • Tailor the treatment plan to the individual’s abilities
  • Adapt the recovery plan to the real-time progress
  • Incorporate exercises that target problem areas
  • Exclude exercises that carry potential risks

Digital physiotherapy – what about regulatory compliance?

Healthcare organizations are subject to numerous industry-specific standards – HIPAA, GDPR, HITECH, FDA. Healthcare companies and stakeholders are required to adhere to the acknowledged requirements to ensure patient confidentiality, high-quality services, and anti-fraud. 

When implementing computer vision and other advanced techniques to facilitate musculoskeletal therapy, responsible decision-makers must address:

  • Data privacy
  • Data security
    • CV algorithms come with data storage and transmission, which also proses threat to protected personal information
    • To resolve this challenge, an organization must prevent unauthorized access by implementing robust measures such as role-based access, communication protocols, and others
  • Patient consent – patients must be informed about all data manipulations
  • Ethical considerations – when implementing computational technology, it’s important to consider ethical aspects including biases and fairness of algorithms, which might lead to inequitable treatment

Among the industry-specific standards, these are the most important ones to mention:

  • HIPAA – a US regulation that focuses on protecting sensitive information and places high standards that ensure secure handling and transmission of personal health information
  • GDPR – a EU regulation that focuses on protecting privacy rights of individuals in the European Union and sets strict statutes that ensure proper processing and transmission of personal health information and emphasize the importance of obtaining patient consent
  • HITECH – a US legislation that promotes secure exchange of information and the responsible utilization of technology to improve healthcare quality and efficiency
  • FDA – a US agency that regulates medical devices to ensure their security and efficiency before they are marketed and adopted

The power of telerehabilitation – computer vision to transform healthcare delivery

In 2021, after the COVID-19 outburst, Hospital Parc Salut Mar was forced to reduce face-to-face appointments. That’s when the management has made the step towards digitalization through implementing computer vision. In brief, Hospital Parc Salut Mar successfully transformed traditional rehabilitation into an engaging experience. They provided their patients with the handy opportunity to exercise from home.

By integrating computer vision into advanced physical therapy tracking applications, strategic organizations could seamlessly:

  • Analyze relevant body points
  • Measure the range motion, the speed and number of repetitions
  • Guide patients through their exercising plan
  • Ensure correct exercise execution

Another finding to mention is the controlled trial on the overall efficiency of a telerehabilitation approach compared to traditional programs conducted on patient groups that have undergone total knee arthroplasty.

Parc de Salut Mar, research university, has found:

  • A 2-week interactive virtual telerehabilitation program can be as effective as a conventional therapy
  • Telerehabilitation programs are a promising alternative to common face-to-face therapies, in particular for patients who experience transportation difficulties 

Why adopt artificial intelligence – success stories to mention

Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic has leveraged artificial intelligence to digitize administrative information on trillion data points. Personalizing programs, the company has accelerated patient experience and improved clinical outcomes.

Ciox Health

Ciox Health is using machine learning to enhance personal health information management and exchange. Modernizing workflows, the company has facilitated data access and improved flow accuracy, which brought significant results, including accelerated business performance.

How we can help

The number of people who suffer MSK conditions is growing as the population ages and our lifestyles change. No wonder many patients are seeking instant relief by leveraging healthcare services delivered remotely through specialized telehealth platforms.

The treatment of common musculoskeletal conditions sees opportunities for disruption through innovation. Public and private clinics, physical therapists, and patients are leveraging artificial intelligence, computer vision, and other advanced techniques to improve physiotherapy outcomes.

In particular, digital solutions might provide:

  • Increased accessibility 
  • Real-time feedback and guidance
  • Data-driven insights
  • Personalized experiences

Which drive numerous benefits for both:

  • Healthcare providers in form of facilitated:
    • Business productivity
    • Risk management
    • Patient care and recovery
    • Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Individual patients in form of enhanced:
    • Physical rehabilitation
    • Functional mobility
    • Injury prevention
    • Pain management

Abto Software delivers custom-designed, regulatory compliant software products for the healthcare industry. Our engineers cover everything from consulting, data warehousing, and tailor-made telemedicine applications to camera-based human body pose estimation and analysis for insight-driven MSK rehabilitation.

Boost your competitive advantage by adopting modern-day technology!

Get your custom solution to accelerate:

  1. Evaluation
  2. Management
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Treatment

And we will cover the rest by applying:

Embrace innovation and win the competition on the MSK market.

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