CAREhab In The Spotlight With features in-depth interviews with the real people behind innovative healthcare organisations in the industry to shed light on tough healthcare challenges and how we can all become forces for positive progress.
In this first segment of the 3-Part Series with Ekso Bionics Spotlight interview, Ms. Lim Chwee Foon, CEO, Asia Pacific of Ekso Bionics, talks about how robotics and technology can play a role in achieving a better quality of life and facilitate active aging in Asia.
CAREhab: Asia is a sizeable region facing a rapidly aging population. How can robotics and technology play a role in achieving a better quality of life and facilitate active aging?
Ms. Lim:In terms of the Asia Development, we know that in the post-acute care it is certainly less structured and possibly less developed as compared to the US and Europe. That is because in the past, the focus has always been on acute because the needs have always been in terms of infrastructure development and adding more beds, but, you know, that’s changing… we are seeing that across the board in Asia.
There is much more focus in terms of more beds, more facilities and stronger focus on Rehabilitation as well as in some of the countries like Singapore, sort of more advanced country, the shift is towards having rehabilitation done at the community type setting and that’s tremendous news.
Just in terms of numbers, every year about 15 million people suffer from a stroke and we know that in Asia Pacific we are more than half of the world’s population; so if you do that calculation… you know, and, plus the fact that Asia is actually aging in many countries, so.. as we know, with aging comes many different complex and chronic conditions and mobility as a result becomes a real challenge; so GT which is the technology we have for healthcare is really tailored to help spinal cord injury patients and stroke patients to be able to stand up and to relearn how to walk.. and so we are really sort of in the right space in terms of addressing some of these mobility challenges.
Ekso Bionics is the world’s leading exoskeleton company and so we are really focused on providing exoskeleton solutions across different segments..so you know we are solutions for the defence, of course this was where we started initially, industrial, and most importantly in healthcare; so, in healthcare we have the Ekso GT, that is really tailored towards helping patients with spinal cord injury and stroke.
You know our business is really about wrapping intelligent robots around a human body and by doing that we are actually helping people achieve more, become stronger, endure more and certainly in the healthcare space we help patients who have mobility challenges, like Dale, actually get better quality of life and greater independence.
Ekso GT has been widely studied; so there have been clinical studies that really showed benefits in terms of speed, distance, the balance; so, for stroke patients, for example getting that mid line balance is really important; and with the help of technology you know we can do that..we can get there much more quickly and prepare them to be walking faster.
But there are other sort of benefits which are linked to the fact that the patients are upright and walking…..like neuropathic pain for many patients, just being able to alleviate that is a huge plus, cardiovascular and even psychological effect.
We are all about aging actively and, you know, aging gracefully and beautifully. People get injured and unfortunately it’s just one of those things that happen but our mission and our core belief is that you can still have a really purposeful life; and that if you can just do more for people to, you know, be able to help them regain their independence and get a much better quality of life so that they can get on, and carry on, and live beautifully…and enjoy what they love doing despite that life changing event. .