Dysphagia and telemedicine
As we already know, dysphagia is a symptom defined as “difficulty swallowing”, which implies the difficult progression of the food bolus from the oropharynx to the stomach.
Although the relationship between telemedicine, telerehabilitation and dysphagia does not seem so obvious a priori, there are several studies and reviews on the use of digital physiotherapy in patients with swallowing disorders. Without going any further, already in the middle of the pandemic, Reverberi et al, published a review of 16 articles that compared a digital clinical practice with a face-to-face one in people with this type of symptomatology.
In fact, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) considers telemedicine an appropriate model of service delivery for disorders related to swallowing and language.
Within this framework and aware of the relationship between aging and the gradual appearance of this type of disorder, the entities Beaz and IMQ Igurco launched an open innovation challenge launched within the framework of the BIOK! on the occasion of the creation of the Nagusi Intelligence Center to find a solution to this problem so present in the group of the elderly.
Hence this BIOK! is part of the creation of the Nagusi Intelligence Center, a strategic project for Bizkaia that tries to transform the challenge of aging into an opportunity for economic and social development.
At TRAK, we have always worked to improve digital assistance and bring our digital physiotherapy solution to any clinical setting where a patient can benefit from therapeutic exercise. For this reason, we wanted to collaborate, be part of the challenge and create our proposal.
Telerehabilitation and dysphagia, the challenge of Beaz and IMQ
Since the challenge was launched, our team has been working on improving the AI and analyzing facial movements to create a suitable solution for these types of cases. “Our platform seeks to be useful to the health professional and beneficial to the patient. That is why we have adapted it to this type of case, to offer the best service to these patients,” says Carlos Rodríguez Sierra, COO of TRAK.
In the end, our proposal to reduce the risks derived from dysphagia convinced the jury both for its approach and for the technological innovation that it entails, allowing us to collaborate with IMQ to move the project forward.
The solution of our startup, an expert in digital rehabilitation and patient monitoring using artificial intelligence (AI), consists of a digital physiotherapy application to prescribe therapeutic exercise treatments to patients with dysphagia and monitor their treatment remotely.
With our artificial intelligence algorithm and using only the camera of a mobile device or a laptop, TRAK is able to detect the movements of the patient’s face in each exercise to offer corrections in real time. The healthcare professional can also create personalized exercise protocols in less than a minute and monitor the patient’s progress with exercise metrics.
In addition to the opportunity to “be pioneers in applying AI to improve the quality of life of the elderly”, the fact that the solution allows rehabilitation guidelines to be personalized has been a determining factor in choosing Trak since, as IMQ explains Igurco, “the future of socio-health services is person-centred care and this proposal is one more step towards achieving that approach”.
In the coming weeks and thanks to this achievement, our company will begin the development of a pilot project together with IMQ Igurco that will allow us to see the results of our solution. Whatever they are, Jon Vital, CEO of Trak, says he is “excited” about the project: “The simple fact of working with renowned institutions such as IMQ Igurco and Beaz is already a great pride for us. This is progress! When institutions of various kinds, from the public and private spheres, put their resources at the service of patients and the evolution of an aspect as important to society as healthcare”.