Intelligent rehabilitation technology is helping China cope with its growing musculoskeletal problems
The 29th of September was a milestone for DAVID in China. The first public-private clinic for spine, hip & knee and shoulder problems was officially opened in Changshu, some two hours from Shanghai. The launch set in motion an ambitious plan to use intelligent rehabilitation technology nationawide to tackle China’s growing musculoskeletal problems caused by the changing lifestyle and aging population.
China has its share of challenges in taking care of its population that is aging fast. Although traditional Chinese medicine is widely practiced, the country has been actively seeking the latest and most effective treatment methods from around the world. During the modernization process, it has become obvious that one of the bottlenecks is the lack of skilled physiotherapists. Education programs are new and are not producing nearly enough new therapists. Some estimations state that the country would need one million new physiotherapists immediately.
In this context, the role of intelligent rehabilitation technology will be crucial. The idea that one therapist can treat up to 6 persons at a time is exactly the kind of solution China is looking for. Unlike in many western countries, where various strong lobbying groups are slowing the modernization process, China is open for new ideas and when changes happen, they happen fast.
David has been present in the Chinese market for some time, but until now the sales have been mostly based on government tenders. As we have seen so many times before, these kinds of installations, in the end, do not produce the volumes or the level of results that are possible to produce with the David technology. Technology is the key component but without well-educated and well-managed staff, the technology will be underutilized and results are not optimum.
This year things have started to change. David established a subsidiary in China with dedicated partners in influential positions. The purpose is to start developing the market by building working models that can be copied across the country.
The key person in the success of this project is Mr. Zhang, the chairman of Alcha Aluminum, who personally donated the devices to this pilot project.
On the 29th of September, we saw the first step in this development. A beautiful new clinic was opened in Guli town hospital, which is part of the Changshu Second People’s hospital in Changshu. The premises were built specifically for the David clinic and the operating model is quite unique in China. It is perhaps the first public-private collaboration where a private partner invested in the devices run by staff from the hospital and with co-management.
This clinic will act as the basis for David’s operation in China. This requires a lot more than just educating physiotherapists to run the center. The objective is, like in all countries, to create a model that seamlessly is integrated into Chinese health care and insurance system. There is no shortage of patients in China, the challenge is to fine-tune the system to run as effectively as possible and with outstanding outcomes.
Now that the Changshu model clinic is established, it has already become obvious that people all around the country will start visiting the clinic to see how outcomes and effectiveness can be improved with David’s intelligent technology.