Neofect's RAPAEL Smart Pegboard and a Reflection on Rehab Gaming
This is a review of Neofect's RAPAEL Smart Pegboard, but it is also a reflection on the future of rehab gaming.
I believe the Smart Pegboard is the iPod of rehab gaming technology.
What do I mean by this?
I don’t mean that it shuffles songs for you.
I mean that gaming technology like the Pegboard represents a significant leap forward, a disruption in the status quo. But, I believe it is only the beginning.
I believe that the Smart Pegboard is part of a disruptive movement that will transform the delivery of rehab over our careers.
The leap from a wooden pegboard (or similar “technology”) is massive. (Just like when I got my first iPod and could finally stop running with a CD player attached to my waist).
The Pegboard represents significant improvement in portability, affordability and accurate tracking for rehab of the upper limb, visual/spatial skills and cognitive abilities.
(In case you haven’t previously been sold on why gaming should be an everyday expectation: Gaming allows for increased repetitions in a way that is fun and engaging. It gives purpose and meaning to repetitions. It also also paves the way for rehab professionals to collaborate with technology professionals in new ways. If you have followed my work before, you know that I believe that the future of healthcare is collaborative - and this fits right in. Finally, technology like the Smart Pegboard begins to tap into the incredible asset that objective big data gathering is to our profession.)
Why the Pegboard is the iPod of gaming technology
From a therapist’s perspective, here’s how it disrupts our current way of doing things:
This is huge. Gaming consoles and large rehab gaming systems are like stereos and accompanying CD collections. They have a place, but don’t match the mobility that many of our jobs demand.
For example, the OT department I work for serves our local hospital, local outpatient clinic, schools, and nursing home. So it is invaluable that the Pegboard is small enough that we could easily take it to our different settings.
The Pegboard currently runs at $2000 ($1500 with a discount). This is not an amount to sneeze at.
But, when you are looking at other smart rehab technology like the Dynavision, which currently runs around $15,000, the Pegboard price-tag suddenly has a lot more appeal. In the Pegboard, you are looking at something that is the 1/10th of the price of other systems.
This is the difference between technology that only an inpatient rehab department can afford and a device that even small outpatient clinics could purchase.
I want to note that you could buy a Wii for around a $100 or a Nintendo Switch for $300. These absolutely have the possibility for being integrated into rehab, but they are not rehab specific. They simply may not work for many of our clients.
Objective Data Collection
The Smart Pegboard gives you basic smart rehab technology, in which the device is tracking accuracy and speed for you.
No more human error from stopwatches not working.
No more worrying if the commands you gave were standardized.
No more worrying if the set-up varied from session to session.
This takes the previous fine motor, spatial and cognitive challenges of a standard pegboard and takes the guesswork out of outcomes tracking. This is big for our continued attempt to define patient improvements in an objective way for payers. Our burden of using objective data will only continue to increase as the world of rehab tilts toward a pay-for-performance model.
Looking Ahead to the Future of Rehab Gaming
We are just on the beginning of the curve. The iPhone of rehab has yet to be made, let alone the iPhone X.
As we all experience the rides of technology curves, it is easy to find ourselves looking ahead to the next iterations of devices.
I found myself feeling this way when I spent some time with the Pegboard. It made me look expectantly ahead to evolutions in the technology that will deliver even more potency, in particular I am excited for:
Big Data Collection
The Pegboard does save the result of your session, but to track from session to session you still need to write down the results. The data also stays on your individual device and currently is not pooled.
Collaboration and Function
The Pegboard affords the extra motivation and challenge of competing against yourself in the 23 activities it offers.
But, Something about gaming that is really exciting to me is the possibility of collaborative games. How can devices be made in the future so clients can be playing against or with others? How will the devices tap even more into specific interests?
Why It Is Worth It to Get in on the Ground Level
Let’s come back to the present.
Why invest in the Smart Pegboard when we know there are new iterations that will be coming out?
Your clients deserve the best. Today.
We do not have time to hem and haw about incorporating smart technology into our rehab experience.
We know it's the future and we should start using it today. Don’t let projecting ahead to the future stop you from helping the clients right in from of you.
Influence the future of rehab technology.
One of my favorite parts of Neofect is that their clinical manager, Lauren Sheehan, is an occupational therapist. As someone who has served as a DOR and department supervisor she gets it.
Neofect is building a team and systems to be responsive to therapists feedback. If we buy these devices, use them, think critically about how they can be improved and then take the time to send in feedback, we can collaboratively create devices that best serve our clients.
The more we all buy-in to the inevitability of gaming technology the more quickly we can progress. It is good for our profession and most importantly it is good for our patients.
The Neofect Smart Pegboard is an exciting development in rehab technology, but I believe it is only the beginning of an exciting curve of development. Whether it is with this specific product or not, I encourage you to take action on incorporating gaming and smart technology to your rehab offerings.
Learn more here: http://www.neofect.com/en/product/pegboard/