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Cutting edge sensor tech targets aged care clients and workers


ViMove demo

Andrew Ronchi (left) demonstrating the ViMove sensor technology

Allied health solutions using medical-grade sensor technology to support rehabilitation, falls reduction and safe manual handling were among cutting-edge health technology demonstrated at a recent digital health event.

Founder and CEO of Melbourne-based technology company dorsaVi Andrew Ronchi gave a live demonstration of the technology along with a keynote presentation at the recent Digital Health Show Conference in Sydney.

Mr Ronchi, a physiotherapist, and dorsaVi have developed a suite of wearable sensor technologies to measure and interpret human movement for the rehabilitation, occupational health and safety and elite sports markets.

ViSafe Back Sensors 2015 Logo

dorsaVi back sensors

The ViMove solution, which is being used in more than 60 clinics worldwide, allows health professionals to measure movement and posture in people in and away from the clinic in real-time and real situations. The data that is collected can be graphed and shared in a live format.

The sensors include a combination of three chip types all the size of a match head – an accelerometer, which gives a reference to gravity; a gyroscope, which measures how fast the person is twisting; and a magnetometer, which like a compass shows the direction the wearer is heading, Mr Ronchi said.

Solutions for aged care residents and workers

Speaking with Technology Review ahead of the demonstration, Mr Ronchi said ViMove’s balance module could be of particular use within the aged care sector to address falls, for instance.

For example, he said an allied health professional, such as a physio, occupational or diversional therapist, might test the balance of aged care residents once a month as a value added service.

“If someone’s balance is good and not an issue then they do their normal exercise program, but if there balance is deteriorating or it is below the normal standard, they might do additional work with them,” he said.

ViSafe screenshotAlso relevant to the aged care sector is ViSafe, which is a solution to assess and improve workplace OH&S that has already been used in Australia by Coles, Woolworths, Toll, Toyota, Orora (formerly Amcor), Crown Casino and BHP Billiton.

Mr Ronchi said they were currently working with Monash health for its nurses and personal care attendants.

“Usually the injuries in a manual handling context relate to the lower back and to the shoulders so we are focused on those two areas. We put sensors on the lower back. They record movement, but they also record muscle activity. We put the same sensors on the shoulder and upper arm,” he said.

The sensors capture how a nurse or personal care attendant moves when they transfer, wheel or shower patients, for example, to start to quantify parts of their work that are the highest risk, he said.

After the work has been measured, it can be played back to management and staff and analysed with a clinical overview to make improvements, Mr Ronchi said.

Australian Ageing Agenda and Technology Review is a media partner for The Digital Health Show.

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