José David Garrido Jaén; Javier Andrade Celdrán; Juan López Pascual; Cristina Herrera Ligero; Raquel Portilla Parrilla; Susana Maranchón Pérez; María José Vivas Broseta; Ignacio Bermejo Bosch*
Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) Universitat Politècnica de València. Edificio 9C. Camino de Vera s/n (46022) Valencia. Spain
*IBV’s Healhcare Technology Group, CIBER in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)
Since the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) was created in the UPV, around 1976, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation have always been the main areas of interest. Throughout these years, the IBV has developed many contributions and innovations within this field. The use of biomechanical analysis techniques to diagnose, assess and monitor the main pathologies of the locomotor system is certainly among the most representative ones.
As a result of this activity, the IBV has collaborated with the main national and international agents in this medical field. One of the most outstanding examples, because of its extent and scope, is the collaboration of the IBV with the European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM). The joint work of both organizations made it possible to promote the use of biomechanics in the daily practice of European professionals, meeting their healthcare needs through various innovative training actions.
As a center of research and technological development, the activities and interest of the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) have focused on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Since its inception in the seventies, the application of biomechanical knowledge in the dynamic study of human body, as well as in the objectification of its limitations and interactions with the environment, has resulted in multiple innovations related to motion analysis, the study of functions, the assessment of disability, and the development of therapeutic alternatives. All these aspects are of great importance and interest to health professionals specialized in the management, treatment and rehabilitation of the main locomotor system disorders.
In this respect, many examples can illustrate the application of the IBV innovations in the field of Rehabilitation, which are characterized by new technological solutions to objectify, record and assess high-value clinical data. The implementation of these technological tools in the processes to assess and rehabilitate motor disorders involved considerable progress in the modernization and technical development of patient monitoring and control procedures, as well as in the decision-making processes of the experts.
Figure 1. Instrumented patient in a functional assessment session performed in the IBV laboratory.
As a result of the gradual introduction of biomechanical applications in the rehabilitation field, the experts have become increasingly interested in specific training in this area over the past few years. A study carried out by the IBV, in collaboration with various European rehabilitation societies, shows that more than 90% of the rehabilitation physicians believe that biomechanical methodologies are interesting for their daily professional practice. In addition, about 30% of the professionals surveyed considered that their knowledge on this subject is insufficient to face the current challenges of the specialty.
In fact, meeting the needs of rehabilitation professionals is one of the most important characteristics that differentiate the innovation activities deployed by the IBV, which makes it essential to develop and consolidate strategic alliances with the main agents and actors of the specialty. Professional and business associations, universities and patient groups, are only a small sample of the network of associations of the IBV at a European level. This work would not have been possible without creating and consolidating institutional channels of communication and collaboration among the academic environment, RDI, health professionals and industry agents; not to mention, of course, the major role of patients in the innovation processes deployed so far.
COLLABORATION WITH THE ESPRM
Among the institutional cooperation actions deployed by the IBV in recent years, it is worth highlighting the collaboration with the European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM) (http://www.esprm.net/) because of its impact on the specialty. The relevance and pertinence of this collaboration was recently highlighted before European experts, as reflected in the conclusions of the 21st edition of the ESPRM Congress, held in Vilnius (Lithuania) last May, which gathered more than 500 rehabilitation professionals from all over the world.
Figure 2. Attendees of a workshop on Advanced Technology for Rehabilitation developed in Lithuania during the celebration of the 21st edition of the European Congress of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.
Although the IBV and the ESPRM first contacted in the early 2000s, it was not until 2012 that both organizations started to collaborate on a formal basis with the objective to develop an innovative project, at a European level, within the framework of the Leonardo da Vinci program, which focused on the promotion and development of new training contents for the modernization of the European society. The purpose of the project, titled Biomechanics4Rehab, https://www.ibv.org/en/news/end-of-biomechanics4rehab-project, was to develop new distance training programs, aimed at rehabilitation and physical medicine professionals, focused on the application of biomechanical methodologies and technologies in the processes of assessment, decision making and monitoring of the main pathologies with neurological and motor involvement.
In line with the work and cooperation started in 2012, the IBV, in close collaboration with the ESPRM and other European universities (Politecnico di Milano https://www.polimi.it/ and the Silesian University of Technology https://www.polsl.pl), launched the Brain4Train project, http://brain4train.eu/ in 2016, within the framework of the program for the promotion of education and training Erasmus+. This ongoing project focuses on the application of new biomechanical technologies and virtual reality in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients who have suffered a stroke. The relevance of this project lies in the high level of incidence of these disorders. According to specialized media, around one million cases of stroke are recorded each year.
Figure 3. Home page of the Brain4Train project website.
The Brain4train project will allow both practicing and future professionals who are currently studying to access the latest technological advances in biomechanics and virtual reality, as well as the therapeutic possibilities that their application provides.
As a result of the efforts of the IBV and the ESPRM to modernize and update the processes surrounding Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, they jointly launched the first edition of the Biomechanical Assessment Methodologies to Improve the Rehabilitation Processes course in 2017 (link to the Spanish version of the article https://tienda.ibv.org/es/formacion/80-introduccion-al-analisis-biomecanico-en-la-valoracion-del-dano-corporal-1-edicion.html; link to the English version of the article https://tienda.ibv.org/es/formacion/76-biomechanical-assessment-methodologies-to-improve-the-rehabilitation-process-2nd-edition.html). This course became one of the main mechanisms to exchange experiences between rehabilitation professionals and technical researchers of the IBV.
Experts from 14 different countries, both European and non-European, participated in the first edition of this training action—supported by the ESPRM and the IBV—and had the opportunity to explore in depth the latest technologies related to the analysis of human movements and functional assessment through the study of practical cases.
In view of the level of satisfaction expressed by the professionals participating in this training program, both the ESPRM and the IBV plan to launch future editions to disseminate the results achieved in the various RDI projects developed in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. For that purpose, both organizations have a roadmap describing the most relevant actions and initiatives in the context of biomechanics and their application in the daily practice of these professionals.
The clinical management of the locomotor system disorders—characterized by high healthcare pressure, the streamlining of the resources, and the continuous search for new efficiency indicators of clinical procedure—involves challenges and opportunities that require holistic and multidisciplinary approaches; therefore, today more than ever, it is essential to promote institutional cooperation and the exchange of information among the main agents of the sector. The collaboration between IBV and ESPRM is certainly a good example of this, as reflected in the results obtained in the past 6 years, which set out the way ahead for other benchmark organizations at a European level.
We thank the European Commission for having funded the Biomechanics4Rehab and Brain4Train projects through the Leonardo Da Vinci and Erasmus + programs.