RACV grant recipients help trauma victims

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Epworth Hospital try out motion sensor technology

Two RACV grant recipients are creating a mobile phone app and downloadable software to help road trauma victims recover from acquired brain injury.

Neurological physiotherapists Michelle Kahn and Megan Banky are using their RACV Sir Edmund Herring Scholarship to further develop movement-analysing software that will be inexpensive and readily available.

“The current way of analysing movement is expensive and time consuming and only available to patients in two hospitals in Victoria,” Michelle says.

The new systems promise to be a much more cost-effective and efficient way of getting the same data from patients using motion-sensor technology. “The same technology is used to make films like Avatar or in gaming technology such as Microsoft Kinect,” she says.

Movement data helps experts tailor treatment to meet patients’ needs and facilitate recovery.

Michelle and Megan, who work at Epworth Hospital, were awarded the $58,000 scholarship in October 2016. The funding is awarded annually to health professionals in Victoria who are working to help prevent road trauma and improve the quality of care delivered to victims of road trauma.

With technology constantly evolving, the pair hope to utilise its accessibility and make it available to other clinicians.

“With the RACV Scholarship we will be testing 60 patients and we’re almost halfway through the testing phase and it’s going really well,” Megan says. “The end products will be a phone application and a website with downloadable software that can be used to accurately assess patients.”

Most patients treated by the pair are young adults who have acquired a brain injury through road trauma. “They have decades of their life ahead, they want to get back to work, sport, family life,” Megan says.

For more information visit racv.com.au or call 9790 2995.

Photo: Meredith O’Shea
Image: Researcher Hannah Ryan demonstrates the motion-sensor technology that will help tailor treatment for road trauma victims.

Written by Jessica Hirst
January 23, 2017