DIH: Comments on The Future of Rehab in Asia and why the delivery of rehab will change drastically in the face of advancing technologies?
Prof. Wee: It is indeed exciting times with the advancements in rehabilitation technology! One of the current trends in neurorehabilitation is the utilization of rehabilitation technology to augment conventional approaches in the rehabilitation of patients with neurological disorders. There is certainly the huge potential of various techniques, such as robotics, virtual reality, wearable sensor, electrical stimulation, non-invasive brain stimulation, in enhancing patient care. Research evidence clearly demonstrated a trend of a positive outcome after intensive training using technology-aided approach coupled with conventional therapy. Hence, it is imperative that clinicians keep an open mindset to embrace and adopt technology to complement their clinical work in order to optimise patent outcome.
Many of the rehabilitation technology systems include stimulating games to make training fun, interactive and engaging. This will motivate patients to participate actively in therapy. In addition, the rich data generated by the rehabilitation technology systems provide objective information about patients’ performance.
These data, together with clinical scales, will aid clinicians in monitoring patient’s progress and recovery. The data will guide clinicians to prescribe customised exercises to train them at an appropriately challenging level; hence, increasing engagement and facilitating neuroplasticity. The data is also useful on the research front to deepen scientific knowledge of neurological recovery. I strongly believed that rehabilitation practice will transform greatly with the use of advanced rehabilitation technology.