Finding Remo: Artificial Intelligence in service of healthcare
Andrea Bolioli from H-FARM Innovation & Nicolò Celadon (Morecognition - IIT)
Take a step into the future of medicine with digital health
In a popular Italian advertising about Google Home, the rapper Fedez doesn’t know what to wear and turns to Google Assistant for help. In another scene the Italian showgirl Elisabetta Canalis asks the smart device to adjust the TV volume. Such devices allow us to interact with machines almost like with an human being and can make life easier.
When we have to deal with greater issues, such as healthcare and medical science, can Artificial Intelligence and Voice Technology help us in a similar way?
The development of digital health devices, including mobile apps and wearable sensors, will have a strong effect on improving human health. Digital health is empowering us to manage illnesses and monitor rehabilitation processes. It is also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine personalized. Want an example? It has been estimated by IQVIA Institute (The Growing Value of Digital Health) that
«the use of Digital Health apps in just five patient populations where they have proven reductions in acute care utilization (diabetes prevention, diabetes, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation) would save the U.S. healthcare system $7 billion per year».
The innovative startup Morecognition, together with us of CELI, H-FARM’s Artificial Intelligence unit, is working on a smart solution, called Remo, that will support patients during home rehabilitation and allow therapists to monitor the evolution of treatment even without being physically at home with the patient.
Need physical rehabilitation? Bring your physiotherapist home!
Rehabilitation actually starts in the hospital and should continue as necessary after release from the hospital. However, patients can be unable to make home rehabilitation autonomously, because there is nobody who can ensure they make exercises accurately and regularly. Moreover, very often chronic patients give up on therapy because of motivation lack and discouragement.
The Remo project stemmed in this context, matching demand and supply to find new technological solutions for the most important problem in healthcare systems: the necessity of a continuous, personalized and effective home rehabilitation program.
Remo will consist in three components: the smart sensor, designed to be worn at the forearm and to monitor movements; a web app, that will allow the therapist to plan the therapy and to be informed about patient’s progress and difficulties; a mobile app, that will receive signals from the sensor via Bluetooth and guide the patient through exercises, interacting through text and voice.
The best team of experts to meet the needs of patients and therapists
Different aspects and necessities must be considered in order to design a device which is really effective and useful, both for the patient and for the therapist. This is why the Remo project involves a team of experts in various fields. First of all, physicians and physical therapists: their opinion and experience is very important in order to decide which features are necessary to meet the needs of the future users. Psychologists contribute to design a stimulating and motivating visual and vocal interface, because patient’s motivation is fundamental for the success of the rehabilitation process. App developers and computer scientists work on the web platform and app. Last but not least, computational linguists provide a natural voice interface.
What is the most innovative part of Remo? Its voice!
A digital assistant that can interact with the patient and communicate with the therapist though the voice represents a challenging innovation in healthcare. Voice Technology and Natural Language Processing allows to replicate the ability of understanding and producing human-like language through smart devices. Thanks to this expertise, our computational linguists (and Morecognition’s engineers) are developing a chatbot that can actually speak with the patient, guide him through the exercises, motivate him, answer his questions (and maybe also encourage him when he skips exercises). The patient therefore will feel that someone is constantly present to take care of him. Moreover, many therapists reported that patients are often discouraged and unaware of the progresses they are making. Thanks to Remo the physiotherapist can receive actual data about the therapy.
The integration of a wearable smart device and voice interface is a great innovation in home rehabilitation and healthcare. We hope Remo will facilitate the work of physiotherapists and improve life quality of chronic patients.