Remote cardiac rehabilitation
The Graduate School of Medicine and the Global Center for Medical Engineering and Informatics (MEI), in partnership with Tokyo University, Tohoku University, and Stanford University, began in 2015 a Bio Design* program to prepare the next generation of designers for healthcare and medical care devices. The program is designed to train its students not to focus on business ideas that have yet to reach commercialization but to base their ideas on the needs of medical centers.
This past March, students announced the first start up from the Bio Design program, Remohad. Remohab is using IoT (Internet of Things) to develop home rehabilitation systems for patients with heart disease who cannot access standard rehabilitation programs. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Japan. It is expected that the number of deaths caused by the disease could be reduced if rehabilitation is more readily available.
Currently, Remohab is soliciting funding and applying for patents. The progress of the company is fast compared with companies developed from similar programs overseas. It is expected that the Bio Design program will provide a model for entrepreneurship in healthcare and medical care industries.
History of Remohab
In October of 2015, Dr. Tatsunori Taniguchi at the Department of Cardiology and 3 engineers from a private company made up the first group of students to enter the Bio Design program. During the 10-month course, they assessed the needs of several medical centers and prepared a business model accordingly. 6 months after completion of the program, a prototype was produced.
Now, Remohab is conducting further testing on their prototype at Osaka University and conducting market research for commercialization.
Details about the project
Heart disease kills nearly 200,000 people in Japan annually, accounting for approximately 15% of deaths in Japan. Moreover, there are an estimated 1.2 million heart disease patients in Japan, and that number will increase with the increasing population of the country. Many of these patients would benefit from rehabilitation, but only 10% make regular visits. The reason is that many are too weak or old to make frequent trips to the clinic. To make rehabilitation more accessible, Remohab is manufacturing a system in which medical staff at the clinic can manage the patient including rehabilitation without the patient leaving home. In other countries, wearable devices have been used to monitor physical activity. Remohab’s system intends to provide a new generation of patient management.
In 2001, Dr. Paul Yock of Stanford University initiated a design program for medical devices. The program trains students to formulate ideas based on the needs of medical centers and developing the ideas into commercial products. The Stanford program has produced over 40 companies and over 4000 patent applications. Furthermore, more than 200,000 patients around the world have benefited from the designs that have come out of this program.
In response to an initiative by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Bio Design program by Osaka University, Tokyo University and Tohoku University in partnership with Stanford University was made to produce the next-generation of medical devices to Japan. The program is under the direction of Dr. Yoshiki Sawa, Director of the Graduate School of Medicine, and Dr. Yasushi Sakata, Director of MEI.