Improving rehabilitation technologies for remote healthcare during COVID-19

Woman using an exoskeleton Picture: Hocoma, Switzerland

Investigating how technologies can help the integration of rehabilitation services with remote and home healthcare is the focus of Dr Camila Shirota’s Advance Queensland Fellowship.

A postdoctoral research fellow with The Hopkins Centre, Dr Shirota is an expert in biomechanics, motor control of gait and adoption of technology into clinical practice.

Dr Camila Shirota

Her project will assess the application of existing and new technologies (including mixed reality) such as personalised devices (activity trackers, mobile phones, wearable sensors) and robotics (wearable exoskeletons, robotic-based therapy) for rehabilitation services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the delivery of healthcare, especially in areas that require physical interaction, such as disability and rehabilitation,’’ Dr Shirota said.

“This project will develop a new technology needs assessment framework which will be used to accelerate the uptake of remote technology in rehabilitation settings across Queensland.”

Picture: Hocoma, Switzerland

Dr Shirota will lead a multidisciplinary team, including people with disability, to focus on needs-based assessment of technology and testing of new technology solutions suitable for rehabilitation in virtual healthcare environments that can be integrated with home healthcare.

 She says the contribution of her partners is essential to project’s success.

“The engagement of multiple stakeholders – including a strong team of researchers, industry experts and consumer researchers – will ensure a broad range of consumer needs are considered and project outcomes are shared, as well as opportunities to influence and translate findings into policy and practice.”

This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship is supported by The Hopkins Centre, Queensland’s leading disability and rehabilitation research centre, founded by Menzies Health Institute of Queensland, Griffith University and the Division of Rehabilitation at Metro South Hospital and Health Service. Affiliate partners include Queensland Motor Accident Insurance Commission, Spinal Life Australia and Gold Coast Health, as well as project collaborators University of Queensland and ARM Hub.