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Collaborate with startups and medtech companies to drive hospital innovation

Article-Collaborate with startups and medtech companies to drive hospital innovation

Supplied Digireha.jpg
Forging partnerships with firms like Digireha can help hospitals foster transformative advancements in healthcare delivery.

When designed for humans, AI and technology have the power to change lives. Digireha Inc., a digital health company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is proving this by challenging innovation in rehabilitation through the use of gamification-based applications, sensors, and databases.

It all started when Yuki Oka, Founder and CEO of Digireha, came across a young girl Mako, who was diagnosed with Fukuyama-type congenital muscular dystrophy and suffering from unmotivating rehabilitation. Upon hearing her story, Oka developed the Digireha app to make rehabilitation more enjoyable. 

In the early days, the tool focused on improving rehabilitation for children with special needs. Since then, it expanded its reach to serve the 2.4 billion patients around the world who need rehabilitation. The system has already been introduced in 80 hospitals and facilities in Japan alone. Furthermore, academic research is being conducted in cooperation with hospitals followed by the publication of academic papers.

From a startup company's perspective, partnerships between hospitals and medical device companies and startups can foster innovation and promote transformative progress in healthcare. There are three reasons for this:

First, through partnerships, we can bring innovation to the healthcare industry more quickly than ever before. Today's technology landscape continues to evolve at a dizzying pace, and digital transformation professionals will work together to open new possibilities.

The Digireha system, for example, quantifies a variety of pre- and post-rehabilitation information on a patient's rehabilitation and compares the patient's progress. These figures can be viewed on a dashboard in an easy-to-understand manner not only by medical professionals but also by patients' families and caregivers. This fosters an environment of better care for patients not only in the hospital but also in the community.

As part of its future vision, the application — based on patient big data — will have a real-time response function based on patient motivation and skills. Thereby we expect patient success stories and high self-esteem. We will motivate people who find it reluctant to come to the hospital and aim to create a positive environment to do their best through the power of digital technology.

Secondly, a new market can be expanded based on credibility, the network of the hospital and the startup's idea and ability to execute. Through the value of Digireha's services and its educational benefits, it can not only become indispensable to the market and its stakeholders but also create solid social value to facilitate the resolution of new issues.

The elderly, the sick, and children with special needs often feel socially isolated, which is why we must foster a sense of social solidarity and provide new social systems through digital technology. If people can manage their own digital health data and share it with those who need it, they can establish sustainable and extended support throughout their lives.

This is especially beneficial for parents of those with special needs, who are often concerned about who will take care of their children in the future when they are long gone. Such anxieties could be alleviated by the accumulation of data over the years, which could also increase the number of people who have a deep understanding of their children. Such an event can be considered not only for disabled children but also for elderly caregivers, and data can serve as a voice for them to deepen communication.

Finally, the most important objective is to increase people's well-being through the power of digital transformation. Digireha will expand overseas, starting with Delhi, India this year, and the United States in 2025. Based on the knowledge accumulated at hospitals and daycare facilities in Japan, Digireha's products will be delivered to the world.

Digireha currently conducts academic research through joint trial programs with research institutions and hospitals in the US, which makes it a reputable organisation to partner with and fosters a level of safety and security when localizing this product for people in the country.

We understand the challenges of the global healthtech market in the US and India, and growing from there, we aim to build on health to improve the well-being of many people and create a world where no one is left behind, especially the elderly, the sick, and children with special needs.

Technology can make our lives unhappy or happier, depending on how it is used. We at Digireha aim to be a health platform that supports all people around the world, fostering health and self-determination for all, including those with special needs, through technology. We believe that by partnering with hospitals and healthcare organizations, we can share our vision and create a better world.

Moeko Takagi

Moeko Takagi is the Global Partnerships Division Manager at Digireha, Japan. She will be speaking as part of the panel, ‘Driving Hospital Innovation: Collaborating with Startups & Med-Tech Companies’ at FIME 2024 on June 19.

Sign up here to register for FIME 2024, the largest medical trade show in the US, and learn more about the latest trends disrupting the industry.

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