At Digital Health Middle East 2020, held in Dubai, Amana Healthcare showcased how it harnesses the power of eye-gaze technology in rehabilitation therapy to help patients communicate and manage daily tasks with the assistance of a computer.
Nadine de Clercq, Rehabilitation Lead at Amana Healthcare, and Natasha Faizan, Early Intervention Educator, explained how the eye-gaze technology helps to improve patients’ lives by enabling them to send emails, control the TV remote, and even send text messages via a synced smart phone.
De Clercq explains, “Patients are given a tablet and the special eye-tracking camera mounted below the screen monitors the user’s eye movements. Advanced image-processing software then analyses the camera’s images 60 times each second to determine which part of the screen the user is looking at, and translates that into action.”
Faizan pointed out that there is no need to attach anything to the user’s head or body, so there is no discomfort and it can be used for patients of all ages. “In a therapeutic setting, we can use it to encourage social interaction, gameplaying and learning,” she says.
“There are so many applications for this and they are always improving; for example, people can use the system for online tasks like email, paying bills and online shopping. It can even be synced to a smartphone to allow them to make phone calls and send text messages,” says De Clercq.
The technology requires a period of adjustment, especially when using it with children, Faizan added. “It requires control of eye movements as well as the ability to switch between gaze for exploration and for selection of objects, which can be tiring.”
De Clercq and Faizan were among more than 25 speakers at Digital Health Middle East 2020 talking about a framework for delivering a system of integrated care, looking towards the future. The event will highlight latest technologies and advancements in clinical services and personalized care with the aim to improve outcomes while also reducing costs, and will also focus on prevention using IT to drive integration across the healthcare ecosystem.