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Get Your Head In The Game

We take a look at the new technology being trialled by the NHS, which combines physiotherapy with gaming to make rehabilitation more enjoyable.

According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 280,000 people every year across the UK are admitted to A&E after a fall, costing the NHS £1.5billion annually. They also suggest that, if everyone aged 65 and over at risk of falling was referred to physiotherapy, 160,000 falls could be prevented, saving the NHS £250million each year.

But could this physiotherapy be undertaken in a home setting? One pioneering health tech organisation being trialled by the NHS, MIRA Rehab, believes so.

MIRA is a software application transforming traditional physiotherapy exercises into video games, making therapy easier to follow and more engaging for older people, with main target conditions including Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, strokes and arm and shoulder fractures.

Used via a TV screen or monitor, the games are currently being utilised by physiotherapists at 60 clinics and being played by more than 650 patients – a number that is regularly increasing.

Mark McGlinchey, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at Guy’s & St Thomas’

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NHS Foundation Trust who has worked on NHS trials with MIRA, said: “MIRA has the potential for patients to be more active in their rehabilitation, which should result in improved patient and service outcomes.”

Recognising MIRA’s achievements, it has just been announced as a category finalist in the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards 2017 - a programme which aims to discover and support emerging health tech innovation to help people in a clinical setting, in the workplace or at home.


AND GAMES MEET Software Designer Cosmin Mihaiu and MIRA Co-Founders Andrei Cantea, Andrei Dascalu and Alina Calin came up with the concept of MIRA while still at college. The idea was inspired by a conversation about the difficulties friends and family had experienced with physiotherapy. Cosmin himself had found home exercises ‘boring and painful’ after breaking his arm as a child, resulting in a prolonged recovery time.

The student team deduced that if a seven-year-old found physiotherapy

difficult, then many other people with movement problems could be finding this too. From this realisation, the idea for MIRA emerged; combining physiotherapy with game- playing; creating what are known as ‘Exergames’ that could be enjoyed by patients of all ages, including older people.

MIRA Rehab is easy to install on a computer and can be used directly from a laptop or PC, or for a better experience, linked up to a screen in a clinical setting or at a patient’s’ home. The animated character games on MIRA invite patients to complete set recommended movements to progress through each game level, concentrating on different physiotherapy areas. As a result, patients are playing while at the same time actually recovering. The patient’s performance data is tracked; storing repetitions to gauge movement improvement or detecting issues for therapists to adapt individual treatment accordingly.


SCOOTER TO CAR One patient who has benefitted from MIRA Rehab is 84-year-old Beryl Fenby

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