14 June 2018

Helping patients play their way to recovery

Innovation 3

The challenge

Physiotherapy can be a difficult and sometimes painful process. Treatment plans can be cumbersome and a slow recovery dis-empowering. This, in turn, often results in patients not following their recommended exercises, delaying recovery even further. To help keep individuals engaged in their therapy, MIRA is taking a new approach, providing tasks as entertaining activities.

Facing the challenge

MIRA, an innovation supported by the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, turns physiotherapy exercises into video-games, making therapy easier to follow. It uses simple motion capture technology to assess and track patients during their exercises, while providing gaming environments for the patients to “play” their exercises in. In this way, patients are playing, when actually following the recommended therapy treatment.

MIRA is designed as a tool for the therapists, allowing specialists to easily customise MIRA to fit their patients’ conditions. This offers a greater accessibility, leading to consistent uptake and speedy recovery for the patients. It also supports therapists, reducing workload and waiting times at clinics.

Progress highlights

MIRA can be used for different musculoskeletal (MSK) or neurological conditions and is suitable for use by patients aged two and above. Over 20 organisations across the UK are using MIRA. Within the UCLPartners geography, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust have successfully piloted the system and Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are gearing up to start using it in summer 2018.

We started using MIRA with some of our paediatric inpatients as part of a medical student dissertation project. Feedback from the patients was good and we found they really engaged with the games. The system provided a distraction from normal physio, kept patients interested and was more interactive than traditional therapies. When the dissertation project ended we wanted to keep using MIRA. We’re now using the system with more of our inpatients as part of a feasibility study. The system has been welcomed by both patients and staff and we hope to be able to roll it out to adult patients in the future and make use of the app that patients can download and use at homeNasreen Sau, Specialist Therapist at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust