Taking care of an increasingly ageing population is a worldwide challenge. New health services and innovative ways of caring for this sector are crucial, and Denmark knows so. In five years, this country will face a 20 percent increase of elderly people to take care for, hence it is key for them to find efficient and cost-effective solutions.
In order to so, the the Danish Technological Institute asked the Microsoft CityNext partner, Welfare Denmark, to create an interactive platform that would enable citizens to perform rehabilitative exercises at home, at work, or in community centers. In collaboration with scientists and physiotherapists, Welfare Denmark built Virtual Rehabilitation, a device based on Microsoft Kinect for Windows that works with Microsoft Lync 2010 and Skype federation.
The first municipality to adopt Virtual Rehabilitation was Esbjerg, Denmark, which was followed by another 20 Danish municipalities that have bought the solution. Virtual Rehabilitation offers many benefits for communities and their citizens, including:
- Improved outcomes: It enables health professionals to remotely track a patient’s movements and help ensure that the patient is doing exercises correctly and consistently.
- Reduced costs: Let’s take a look at an example. In Esbjerg, a 73-year old man successfully used the solution and, over a three-month period, the municipality saved nearly $2,500. Without Virtual Rehabilitation, the cost to the municipality, which pays for patient care, would have been $1,955 for two home visits per month by referred therapists, and $1,400 for five days at a rehabilitation center—a total of $3,355. With Virtual Rehabilitation, the total cost of licenses plus two online consultations per month with referred therapists was $898, a savings of $2,457.
- Increased access to healthcare: It allows patients to get professional help with their physical therapy from various locations, whether it is home, work, or a community center.
Virtual Rehabilitation is a great example of people-first innovation that’s enabling Danish municipalities to do “new with less” .To learn more, take a look at this case study. I also encourage to read my colleague, Sarah Muckler, Blogpost.