Computer vision to digitize MSK rehabilitation

Abto Software
5 min readNov 9, 2023
Computer vision to digitize MSK rehabilitation, by Abto Software

This post is a quick overview of an Abto Software’s blog article.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation are the critical components of value-added musculoskeletal treatment. These help purposefully approach lingering conditions (muscle strain, ligament strain, arthritis, tendinitis), sports injuries, and other related problems.

Posture assessment and analysis might guide individuals that undergo long-term musculoskeletal treatment. This has been done traditionally manually utilizing additional specialized equipment, targeted examinations, paper-based instructions, passive videos, and regular in-person appointments.

Not anymore — artificial intelligence is revolutionizing physical therapy and rehabilitation!

Modern technology, computer vision in particular, is transforming healthcare delivery by providing:

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

Market overview

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth utilization has grown and shown to empower healthcare providers. Many professionals have claimed that innovation enabled personnel to deliver accurate and consistent services to patients while maintaining COVID-related restrictions.

In 2021, as shown by studies, telehealth adoption has stabilized at levels 38X higher than before the outbursts. Some changes that supported such transformation — for example, the expansion of reimbursement for such — have been made permanent, opening promising, future-proof opportunities.

CV based pose detection to benefit MSK rehabilitation, by Abto Software

Computer vision adding value to traditional physical therapy

Chronic conditions burden millions, and implementing movement recognition might show improved outcomes. Gold-standard approaches, including exhausting physical therapy, behavioral changes, in-person examinations, and others, are mostly quite inconvenient and inefficient.

Embracing innovation, healthcare professionals now incorporate motion assessment and analysis to eliminate bulky equipment and facilitate greater accuracy, among others.

Key benefits for mature healthcare providers

  • 1,5–3X ROI
  • Saving up to 40% therapists’ hours per week
  • Up to 1,6X more patient admission by saving employee hours spent on in-person appointments
  • 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, easy review and tracking
  • Accurate assessment, appropriate diagnosing and treatment
  • Simple use, enhanced engagement and motivation
  • Ensured security

Which streamline:

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

Exploring telerehabilitation: Concept, techniques, and prospects

By using sophisticated techniques, for example, feature extraction, posture estimation, activity assessment, pose detection can help to recognize and analyze human bodies in space without utilizing physical equipment. The technology can have major impact on how physical therapy is delivered.

Empowered through computer vision, which enables accurate assessment, real-time feedback, and guidance, pose estimation and analysis can eliminate excessive hardware and benefit both professionals and individuals. In brief, physical therapy and rehabilitation can be conveniently underdone at home.

Talking about markerless body pose detection, the concept is typically the following:

  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

Markerless body pose assessment and analysis might encompass different techniques:

  • 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

Facilitating telerehabilitation by introducing computer technology

The benefits of telerehabilitation:

  • No intrusiveness — by introducing remote rehabilitation, clinicians eliminate specialized equipment, making sessions more comfortable
  • Optimized time and cost — by adopting virtual rehabilitation, providers optimize resource allocation, simplifying implementation and maintenance
  • Improved mobility — the patient can perform prescribed exercises without being physically restricted
  • Enhanced accessibility — the patient can access prescribed programs with no geographical barriers, meaning anytime and everywhere

The pitfalls to mention:

  • Limited accuracy — the technology may have some limitations when capturing complex moves
  • Environmental dependency — the technology is dependent on appropriate smartphone positioning, lighting conditions, background clutter, clothing variations, and other environmental factors

Digital rehabilitation to improve patient experience & engagement

Real-time feedback

Real-time feedback provides patients with informative visual and audio instructions, which supports:

  • Better understanding of the to-be-performed exercise
  • Immediate improvement to prevent potential injuries
  • Great encouragement and motivation
  • More satisfaction and adherence to the prescribed program
CV based pose detection real-time feedback, by Abto Software

Greater accessibility

Greater accessibility associated with appointment availability, time, cost, and rescheduling can enable:

  • 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. Interactive elements, including tracking, challenges, rewards, and feedback, might transform boring activities into interesting, enjoyable experiences.

Customizable programs

Customizable programs give patients the opportunity to take more control over their rehabilitation journey. These provide goal setting, performance monitoring, progress tracking, and other attractive features, facilitating engagement.

Digital physiotherapy — what about regulatory compliance?

Healthcare organizations must consider various requirements (HIPAA, GDPR) to ensure regulatory compliance. Healthcare companies are examined to ensure they’re taking appropriate measures to ensure patient safety, high-quality services, and anti-fraud.

Before providing technology-assisted services, business leaders must address:

  • Data privacy
  • Data security
  • Patient consent
  • Ethical considerations

How we can help

Abto Software delivers custom-designed, regulatory compliant healthcare products facilitating productivity. Our experts cover everything from consulting to deployment, as well as ongoing post-deployment maintenance to ensure business efficiency.

Discover promising business opportunities by implementing computer vision and boost your revenue!

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Abto Software

We empower customers business with innovative software by applying science, R&D, and own IP at abtosoftware.com