Demonstration of a smart mental care service model for integrated community-hospital management

Customized cognitive rehabilitation and sensory VR contents for the elderly with mild cognitive impairment.

Non-face-to-face service that opens a new daily life the people has begun.

Even when COVID-19 caused confusion all over the world, hoarding did not take place only in Korea thanks to its innovative delivery system. Furthermore, the remaining vaccine reservation system developed by the government and private companies confirmed Korea’s high IT infrastructure, and contact-free technologies such as artificial intelligence, delivery and quarantine robots, and IoT-based living platforms made Korea a quarantine-advanced country. The Korean government is focusing on expanding contact-free services for our daily lives. Through this, it plans to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and secure a leading position in the global contact-free service market in line with the era of digital transformation.

The National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) and Ministry of Science and ICT are discovering and expanding contact-free services for day-to-day life so that people can protect their daily lives from COVID-19 and enhance economic vitality. Main services include contact-free evaluation, safe touch, which is responsive to infectious diseases, smart mental care, infectious disease response robots, advanced lifestyle platform services, leisure, and home fitness platforms, and last-mile robot delivery.Among them, the Community-Hospital Integrated Management Smart Mental Care Service Model Demonstration using bio-signal-based contact-free VR content was carried out by SY INOTECH Co., Ltd. and Pusan National University Hospital as participating organizations, while Busan and Dongnae-gu participated as demand organizations.

Community-Hospital Integrated Management Smart Mental Care Service was developed as a monitoring system to effectively evaluate changes in depression, anxiety, stress, and quality of life, which are major indicators of mental health in the community. This service can be used for rehabilitation training of dementia patients at general social welfare centers, public health centers, dementia relief centers, and welfare facilities for the elderly, and is a VR-based contact-free smart mental care service that can also be used for rehabilitation training at disabled welfare centers, health centers, special schools, and homes.

To mediate depression or anxiety, a health promotion model is required in the pre-treatment stage, NCOM Co., Ltd. emphasizes, “An ICT-based expandable intervention model is needed to overcome the limitations of the supply of intervention models so that contact-free health care services can be effectively delivered to residents.”

Establishing an integrated community-hospital intervention model using VR content has emerged as an alternative to solving this problem.

Community-hospital integrated management smart mental care services can be largely divided into “customized cognitive rehabilitation system for the elderly with mild cognitive impairment” and “providing sensory VR contents. Among them, the customized cognitive rehabilitation system includes smart grips, VR content for improving mild cognitive impairment, and VR devices, and smart grips can be used to participate in rehabilitation games by providing input signals to VR devices. In addition, this service provides sensory VR folk game content that can maximize body functional balance, movement recovery, immersion, and interest, and can manage individual rehabilitation training by selecting the difficulty of the game and storing the game results into the database.

The mental health technology market and academic activities estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been on the rise since the 2000s, and in Korea, the number of patent applications for mental health technology and domestic papers has been increasing. According to statistics from the Korean Health Industry Development Institute, the global smart healthcare market, which remained at $21 billion as of 2014, grew about 4.8 times as it reached $101.5 billion in 2020.

In particular, as VR and artificial intelligence technologies are applied to the medical field and the global artificial intelligence-based smart healthcare market is growing rapidly at an annual average of 42%. Among them, digital treatments are expected to grow rapidly based on the expansion of smartphone supplies, 5G technology development, low-cost, high-efficiency treatments, increased healthcare integration and patient-centered treatments, and expansion of contact-free services.

As a result of NCOM’s health promotion model demonstration project in the pre-treatment stage for smart mental care services in the community, smart mental care services against depression, anxiety, and stress improved the quality of life by more than 20%. NCOM stated, “If you reduce the socioeconomic cost of mental behavioral disorders by 10%, you can achieve a savings of about 1.4 trillion won,” “This service is also highly likely to preoccupy the market because it is receiving high global attention as a VR game-based digital treatment that induces immersion and interest by providing mental care services through virtual space without any physical restrictions,” they added.

In the process of promoting the “Community-Hospital Integrated Management Smart Mental Care Service Model Demonstration” project, NCOM, an implementation agency, was in charge of building and operating contact-free service platforms and systems. SY INOTECH and Pusan National University Hospital, which are participating organizations, were in charge of developing and building VR mental care service products and developing VR mental care service protocols. Also, Busan Metropolitan City and Dongnae-gu, which participated as demand institutions, supported the administration of institutions participating in service demonstration.

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