Healthcare scientists revolutionise stroke rehabilitation

Computer x-ray

Healthcare scientists and clinicians at the Royal Berkshire Hospital are using gaming technology to revolutionise the rehabilitation of stroke patients in Reading.

A new NHS Confederation presentation exploring how commissioners can support innovation, published on Friday, explains how.

Working with Microsoft Kinect, the developers of the Xbox games console, healthcare scientists at the Royal Berkshire are writing programmes to address stoke patients' specific needs and are seeing significant improvement in clinical outcomes.

Using the latest developments in medical physics, the initiative has also reported increased uptake and enthusiasm from patients and their families, reduced levels of depression, and enabled patients to continue their rehabilitation at home, without the need of NHS staff.

“A big part of rehabilitation is trying to enjoy what you do and the sense of achievement [from using the console] gives you that sensation,” a patient using the adapted device said.

Achievements and independence

The case study is discussed in the latest interactive presentation from the Confederation’s Health sciences and the NHS project, which brings NHS boards and healthcare scientists together to help create the right environment to support scientific breakthroughs.

“One of the good things about Xbox Kinect is that you can note the improvements in their [patient’s] score, actually looking at how that translates into what they’re able to do for themselves in terms of their standing balance and their arm strength, and looking at how that translates into them becoming more independent,” a clinician involved in the initiative remarked.

How can commissioners incentivise innovation?

Published on 13 March, the start of the national Healthcare Sciences Week, the Confederation’s latest interactive presentation explores how commissioners can challenge and incentivise providers to encourage innovation. It also covers what opportunities commissioners have to fund developments to realise financial and patient benefits.

The practical resource features a second case study on pioneering developments in community-based pathology and diagnostics at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. And it shares learning on NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s processes and structures that are paying dividends in helping to drive innovation, patient care and choice.

With practical hits, tips and advice, the presentation provides commissioners with a whistle-stop tour of ways to support innovation in healthcare sciences.

Healthcare sciences and innovation

The resource is the second in a series of presentations from the Confederation’s health sciences project. The first, published in August 2014, explores the latest innovations in genomics and child respiratory care, and considers how trust boards can proactively engage and adopt new approaches. 

Healthcare Sciences Week, taking place from 13 to 22 March, promotes the work of healthcare science professionals and highlights how they make a difference to patients’ lives.

Find out more

Check out the interactive presentation: How can commissioners support innovation in healthcare sciences?

Find out more about Healthcare Sciences Week.

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