The Asuncion Klinika hospital group in Gipuzkoa is preparing to launch AsunciON, a telemedicine platform that will include online consultations, tele-rehabilitation sessions and an app for the diagnosis and evolution of skin pathologies, among other services. Telemedicine is now a reality that is here to stay.
The massive use of mobile devices and advances in digital health applications, together with the universalisation of internet access, have made telemedicine a reality that has been accelerated by the COVID pandemic. “At a strategic level, as a hospital, we have been working for some time to integrate telemedicine into our portfolio of services because we believe it offers multiple advantages, both for the patient and the user. We are talking about a new consumer profile that has internalised the digitisation of different services and even their working life and that demands this type of product in the healthcare field as well. They want ubiquity, speed and price, without compromising the quality of the service”, explains Regina Martínez Idarreta, Director of Communication and Marketing at Asuncion Klinika.
She continues: “Telemedicine not only saves patients the need to travel to receive care, thus helping to protect the environment, but, when properly applied, it also allows professionals to have better control of their progress. In addition, telemedicine is a realistic alternative to solve the waiting lists that have worsened in both the public and private sectors, precisely because of the COVID”.
In order to launch the AsunciON platform, Asunción Klinika was clear that they had to ally themselves with the best. Through ASPE’s digital health start-up incubator, the Gipuzkoa-based centre contacted two innovative companies that apply Artificial Intelligence to the treatment of different pathologies: TRAK and Legit Health.
TRAK has developed a tele-rehabilitation app whose algorithms correct the patient in situ while he or she performs exercises and collect this information so that the physiotherapist can monitor the patient’s progress at all times. “Thanks to AI, the platform combines the advantages of telemedicine with those of face-to-face medicine, as the patient is always sure that they are doing their exercises properly. All this, moreover, without the need for cumbersome or expensive equipment. All you need is a computer or mobile phone with a camera”, explains the representative of Asuncion Klinika.
Legit Health, for its part, has developed an application that makes it possible to diagnose and monitor the evolution of skin pathologies with just a photograph taken with a mobile phone, with a very high degree of reliability. The centre has received a Hazitek grant from the Basque Government for the market launch of these new telemedicine products, which the Basque Government awards to companies for the development of innovative business lines.
Before launching AsunciON on the market, the centre has been working for months on testing these new services. With TRAK, they have a tele-rehabilitation study underway for knee and shoulder patients and the response, “both from professionals and patients, has been very good,” explains Martínez Idarreta. They are also working on a tele-rehabilitation project for post-COVID patients that has been selected by the European Union’s COVID-X programme, which grants aid for the development of innovative solutions to the health challenges posed by the pandemic.
Maria Alejandra García, head of the Rehabilitation Service at Asuncion Klinika, values the tele-rehabilitation platform positively and stresses that in no case does it replace the professional: “TRAK is a tool to complement and improve the work of the physiotherapist, acting as a bridge between him and the patient. The professional can know at all times what state the patient is in and if he or she is exercising well,” says Dr García.
Iciar has been a user of the tele-rehabilitation platform to recover after a meniscus operation. She highlights the ease of use of the application and the convenience of not having to travel to the centre to follow the rehabilitation sessions.
Igor, for his part, has combined his rehabilitation treatment at Asunción Klinika with tele-rehabilitation sessions, always under the supervision of his physiotherapist: “It’s very convenient to be able to do the exercises at the time that suits you best,” he says.
After a knee operation, Julia was offered the option of doing part of her rehabilitation treatment via the platform and her experience has been so positive that she “recommends tele-rehabilitation 100%”.
(Support) Telemedicine, key to the sustainability of the system
Asuncion Klinika believes that telemedicine will play a key role in the sustainability of the healthcare system in the medium term. “Patients benefit because they can access different online healthcare services telematically, in their own home, without the need to travel or wait, and with the control of specialists. They gain in convenience, savings and security. Insurance companies and mutual insurance companies and even public systems can reduce waiting times for access to treatment and consultations, while at the same time reducing costs”, they conclude.
About Asuncion Klinika:
Asunción Klinika is a private healthcare group that includes a hospital, outpatient centres in Tolosa, Andoain and Ordizia and consulting rooms in San Sebastian and Irun. It has a workforce of more than 350 people, including more than 90 doctors, making it the leading job creator in Tolosaldea. Asunción Klinika also acts as a regional hospital, thanks to an agreement with the Basque Government’s Department of Health, providing healthcare coverage to a population of over 65,000 people.
You can find all the information on their website:
About Legit Health:
Legit.Health is artificial skin intelligence that makes it possible to diagnose hundreds of skin pathologies from a mobile phone. Legit.Health also makes it possible to remotely monitor the evolution of pathologies, allowing the progress of dermatitis, psoriasis, acne or skin cancer, among many other diseases, to be measured.
Legit.Health is a medical device (CE) that uses validated deep learning algorithms to support physicians in clinical practice.