Personalized medicine, home healthcare and remote medicine are among the trends encapsulated by the FDA's decision to grant 510(k) clearance to the Jintronix rehabilitation system, used in conjunction with Microsoft's Kinect motion-tracking technology.
Jintronix says the system is a supplement to traditional physical therapy that gives patients real-time feedback on performance and enables physicians to keep tabs on subjects using quantitative data.
Barely a third of patients follow their rehabilitation program. But the rehabilitation system improves patient compliance by "gamifying" the exercises, Jintronix says. For example, in one of the games for strengthening the legs, patients walk to the cue of a bunny rabbit on the screen, according to a Bloomberg profile of the company.
"As consumers become more familiar with technologies such as motion capture and facial recognition, we think the opportunities for consumer-based technologies to change healthcare are enormous," Jintronix co-founder Daniel Schacter said in a statement. "Our solution for the Kinect is an important entrant--patients really enjoy playing the games on our system, while clinicians are thrilled by the medical foundation of the activities. We want to see our system in the home of every patient who needs neurological or orthopedic rehab."
Jintronix says the rehabilitation system lowers costs because it can also be located in a patient's home and performed with remote medical professional monitoring. That explains why institutional payers seem interested, including a large U.S. therapy equipment supplier and an insurer that is piloting rental plans, says Bloomberg, adding that the U.S. Army is testing the system in veterans' homes.
"The promise is for therapy that is more efficient, more personal, more convenient and can help lower the cost of care while improving outcomes," Microsoft's senior director of worldwide health Bill Crounse said in the statement. "We believe that this clearance from the FDA is an important turning point for Kinect technology in physical therapy, and also a recognition that healthcare is on a clear path toward change."
Even though it is a first-of-its-kind move, FDA granted clearance because the Jintronix rehabilitation system is substantially equivalent to devices marketed prior to the 1976 Medical Device Amendments, the Feb. 28 approval letter says.