ExaWizards, Astellas Pharma, Juntendo University and Dr. Arai, Chairman of National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology Jointly Developed Gait Function Assessment Application* for Medical Professionals
—Launched the verification tests on musculoskeletal care support for elderly people at three hospitals in Japan
ExaWizards Inc., a company that develops AI-enabled services to solve social issues (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President & CEO: Ko Ishiyama; hereafter, “ExaWizards”), today announced that it has jointly developed the smartphone application for gait function assessment for medical professional with Astellas Pharma Inc. (hereafter, “Astellas Pharma”), Dr. Hidenori Arai, Chairman of National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, and Sportology Center of Juntendo University, and launched the verification tests on musculoskeletal care support for elderly people in the recovery hospitals by using this application.
☑︎ Background of the project/ social issues —Assessment and improvement of gait function are the important indices to prevent nursing care
In Japan’s modern super-aging society, preventative nursing has been increasingly important, providing assistance before elderly people come to need long-term nursing care. Joint disorders and musculoskeletal disorders due to bone fracture and falling account for 24% (*1) of the factors that cause elderly people to need long-term nursing care. While the concepts originated from musculoskeletal disorders, such as the “frail” which represents the physical condition between the state requiring nursing care and the normal state and the “locomotive syndrome” which refers to the condition that a person is at high risk of requiring nursing care, have been attracting attention.
Among the musculoskeletal functions, the gait function is the core indicator for maintaining the quality of everyday life and a connection between a decline in its functionality and a variety of other musculoskeletal disorders and mortality has been suggested (*2). Accordingly, understanding the gait function of elderly people is important to evaluate not only the risk of requiring long-term nursing care, but also their health risks and quality of life. However, assessment of the gait function generally requires professional evaluation by physiotherapists, and there is no sufficient framework to assess the gait function that allows ordinary people to understand at a glance without specialized knowledge.
By utilizing the skeleton extraction technology, ExaWizards has developed AI algorithms and software that can visualize multiple gait conditions, including walking speed, based on the video of an elderly person walking. Using this technology, ExaWizards, in collaboration with Astellas Pharma under the supervision of Dr. Hidenori Arai, Chairman of National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, jointly developed a smartphone application to prevent the need for long-term nursing care of elderly people and to help the medical field.
(*1) Source: Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, “Annual Report on the Aging Society, 2021” (https://www8.cao.go.jp/kourei/whitepaper/w-2021/zenbun/pdf/1s2s_02.pdf)
(*2) Japan Foundation for Aging and Health “Kenko-Choju Net” (https://www.tyojyu.or.jp/net/kenkou-tyoju/undou-kiso/hokou.html) and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare “Health Japan 21, (Physical activity and exercise)” (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/www1/topics/kenko21_11/b2.html)
☑︎ Outline of the application —Comprehensively collect, record and visualize the information necessary to care for the motor function of the elderly
This application is designed and developed as a product to be used by medical professionals who are engaged in care for the elderly with motor function problems. With ExaWizards’ proprietary AI algorithm that analyzes walking gait videos, the application can automatically evaluate and analyze the gait function index and keep records of physical pain, rehabilitation and the result of training. It is expected that by visualizing such information, it helps to maintain and increase motivation for rehabilitation and training.
In addition, records of motor functions other than gait function, information on musculoskeletal disorders including frail and sarcopenia, and the function to share information among multiple medical professionals who are engaged in the care of the elderly patients, the application is equipped with the function to raise awareness on disorders such as frail, osteoporosis, and overactive bladder that are indicated to be associated with the gait function. It is developed to be used as a tool to comprehensively collect and record the information required to care the motion function of elderly while helping to raise awareness on appropriate and timely treatment of the relevant disorders.
Astellas Pharma, which has jointly designed and developed this application, pursues this application development project for the purpose of providing values for patients by assisting the musculoskeletal care in the field of musculoskeletal disorders, as well as providing opportunities to identify the musculoskeletal conditions including frail.
Dr. Hidenori Arai, Chairman of National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, supervised the development project of this application. With Sportology Center of Juntendo University, with whom we have cooperated in building evidence, we will analyze the correlation between diseases and function assessment on a variety of medical data including walking gait videos obtained in the cohort study on elderly residents in Bunkyo-ku (Bunkyo Health Study) and verify the accuracy of the AI algorithm that uses the 3D motion sensor. To verify the supporting effect for rehabilitation in the field of orthopedic, we will conduct the verification of this application in three recovery hospitals by using this application.
☑︎ Position of this initiative in ExaWizards –Physical Health Platform Concept that connects research institutes, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies
As the development of businesses to solve social issues in the nursing care fields by using AI, ExaWizards has been engaged in development and provision of “Carecoaching” (https://carecoaching.jp/), the AI-based gait video analysis application which has become the starting point of this initiative and “CareWiz Hanasu-to-Kiroku” (https://carewiz.ai/hanasuto/), the speech recognition/ natural language processing product to reduce burden of nursing care workers. Care & Med Tech Department, which is in charge of development of businesses in the medical and nursing care fields in ExaWizards, aims to create a world where people can live their own life through realization of healthcare that is valuable to each person, and to support people’s better decision making and actions by establishing the process and mechanisms based on the data and AI.
With respect to assessment & screening of the health risk including diseases that serve as the “entrance” function of the patient journey and the treatment & intervention that serve as the “exit” function, ExaWizards is currently promoting the Physical Health Platform concept that empowers both patients and medical/nursing care professionals through provision of online/offline-combined services using the digital technologies and AI. Towards the realization, ExaWizards is promoting development of its own products and joint development of products with partner companies. In order to realize scientific medical/ nursing care by utilizing data on the physical function, nursing care practices and daily lives, and to establish the use cases intended for medical and nursing care professionals, ExaWizards is engaged in development and verification of the application in collaboration with the research institutes, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
This application is expected to be a useful tool in the medical fields in supporting the musculoskeletal care for elderly patients so that it effectively and efficiently helps early detection, intervention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders of elderly. ExaWizards will further pursue construction of the data–driven, value generating model not only for the clinical sites but including the field of research and development of pharmaceutical products by establishing the unique system to utilize the real world data that is obtained from the digital health products.
* This application is not a medical equipment.
(*) The information included in this news release is as of the date of publication and is subject to change without prior notice.
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