The UMC Utrecht and Evalan BV have secured European funding for the COMFORT project within the Eurostars Program. During the three-year COMFORT (COMplex Fracture Orthopeadic Rehabilitation) project a rehabilitation program for patients with hip fractures will be developed by the Department of Surgery at the UMC Utrecht, Evalan BV and two Swedish institutions, that helps patients to rehabilitate faster using innovative technologies. The force sensor SensiStep, developed jointly by the UMC Utrecht and Evalan, plays a central role in the project. The clinical studies in this large project will be executed by Marco Raaben, Clinical Technologist, and coordinated by dr Taco Blokhuis, trauma surgeon at the Department of Surgery.
The rehabilitation program uses three innovations: the SensiStep, a force sensor with wireless communication that allows force (load) during daily exercises to be registered in real time, a bone density meter based on microwave technology suitable for regular use and a computer application with intelligent software. To develop the technologies data is collected from 200 rehabilitation patients in multiple rehabilitation institutions in the Netherlands and Sweden. Using these data intelligent software will be developed, with which an algorithm for optimal support of rehabilitation is drawn up. During the last phase of the project the rehabilitation program is validated in a trial, which also reviews the user aspects of the system.
Each year approximately 600.000 people in Europe break a hip. This number increases because of the aging population. The rehabilitation of these patients is hindered by the lack of systems that support these patients and the lack of objective methods to determine the progress of the rehabilitation. This leads to considerable delays in the rehabilitation and to high costs. The rehabilitation program of COMFORT is intended to accelerate the reduction of these patients have to go home, and hence in addition to improvements in health care also to provide a considerable cost savings.