eREHABILITATION AND IoT
Digital transformation is not something new. We have been hearing about digital transformation in almost every conversation within the service industry. Digital transformation has been widely known as the foundational change of how a company delivers their value to their customers. It allows an organization to deliver competitive value to their customers in an entirely new way, increase competitive advantage within the service industry and altering the economic market. This process or change uses a radical rethinking of how the organization utilizes technology, manpower and process flow to fundamentally alter their business performance. Digital transformation calls for collaboration of cross-departmental integration with rapid application of business focused developmental framework.
Industrial Revolution 4.0 is widely known as the advanced development stage of an organization that encompasses the management of an entire value chain process involved within a manufacturing industry. The term IR 4.0 is also well known in most Asian countries as the Internet of Things (IoT). Malaysia is also one of the developing countries that is looking towards Industrial Revolution 4.0 to boost our economic growth and productivity by focusing on the manufacturing industry and more aggressive plans are on its way to extend IR 4.0 within the healthcare sector.
Though the healthcare sector is somewhat behind when it comes to big data analysis compared to other manufacturing and telecommunication industries, it is undoubtedly catching up. With the enormous healthcare data collected and analysed in real time, this allows healthcare organizations to identify their customer demographics and are able to better cater the needs and expectation of their customers. Big data could also benefit researchers in identifying and understand a specific health and disease patterns within a community area or at a national level.
Health and technology has been changing continuously ever since the early stages of healthcare medicine. The increase in knowledge in reference to diagnostics, intervention, prevention, and rehabilitation has shaped the current healthcare system in Malaysia. In turn, the nation’s healthcare system has also evolved into a more complexed structure with interchanging roles and responsibilities are applied to qualified healthcare professionals, patients, stakeholders as well as regulators. Digital transformation within the context of Malaysian healthcare has been seen as an influential process that has already had a substantial importance and impact on the current health economy and is expected to further impact the Malaysia healthcare system in the near future.
In recent years, rehab manufacturing companies have started developing medical devices with the capability to enhance physiotherapy interventions and rehabilitation programs by connecting these devices to the internet and it is predicted to expand drastically in the near future. As new technologies emerge within the healthcare manufacturing market, healthcare professional such as physiotherapist, occupational therapist and rehabilitation consultants are actively involved in collaborating and guiding the development team in modifying existing rehabilitation technologies to enhance patient’s rehabilitation process. With the digitalization of rehabilitation care, the wide range of physiotherapy devices from the use of computer aided interventions, electronic pain management, artificial intelligence guided visualization and support system, digital rehabilitation is expected to affect many aspect of the patient’s rehabilitation process from the structure of intervention, to their outcome measures.
The Internet of Things (IoT) in rehabilitation does not only aimed at maintaining patient’s mobility, enhance quality of life and ensure their safety, but to also improve how physiotherapist and rehabilitation doctors’ deliver their interventions. Through the IoT in healthcare and rehabilitation, wearable devices and data analysis of the patient’s muscle strength, gait, balance and treatment compliance can be monitored by their therapist at all times even when the patients are at the comfort of their homes. However, the benefits of eRehabilitation and digital transformation does poses some challenges within the Malaysian healthcare context, such as clinical acceptance, non-adherence, full adoption of digital health in public hospitals as well as cloud data storage.
Even though online platform does come with many ethical, legal and professional considerations, it is a useful tool in providing Malaysian’s credible health information by professional physiotherapist. As the Covid-19 pandemic has been seen as an opportunity for the advancement of telemedicine and tele-rehabilitation, future research on social media health promotions and the use of IoT may provide a better understanding and guideline of how healthcare organizations could effectively utilize this platform to benefit the citizens of Malaysia.