Supporting the ageing population through innovative technologies.
Taiwanese HealthTech start-up, LongGood Meditech first entered the Singapore market in 2016. Aspiring to support the ageing community in the region, LongGood aims to empower over 120,000 people by 2022 with gamified rehabilitation programmes equipped with motion-sensing technology. As a step towards this goal, in 2019, LongGood’s PAPAMAMA system has been adopted by 37 healthcare and medical facilities across Singapore with over 1,500 patients benefitting from it. Giving us more in-depth overview of LongGood’s PAPAMAMA system and how it will benefit the ageing population is Ms Zoe Liang, Chief Operating Officer, LongGood Meditech.
1. What are the key features of LongGood’s PAPAMAMA system and how these will change the game for elder care in Singapore?
LongGood’s PAPAMAMA system combines the use of motion-sensing technology with virtual reality to detect multiple points on the patient’s body and project a motion-activated image onto a TV or projection screen. The system then guides patients to execute various professionally designed rehabilitation trainings that are repackaged into a series of games. Through gamification, patient rehabilitation is enhanced by ensuring that patients receive the care they need in a fun and interactive way while socialising with their loved ones.
Another key benefit of the PAPAMAMA system is that it can easily be installed in the comfort of patients’ homes due to its portability and easy-to-operate interface. This greatly reduces the need for patients to make frequent commutes to and from hospitals, which may be particularly difficult for seniors. Additionally, the PAPAMAMA system’s cloud capabilities allow therapists to remotely monitor their patients and evaluate their progress, which helps to maximise healthcare resources and meet the demand for trained therapists in Singapore.
2. Why did LongGood Meditech chose Singapore as its first stop for this expansion into Southeast Asia?
As with many Asian countries, Singapore is no stranger to the problems of an ageing population. Over the last decade, Singapore’s population has grown older with an increasing number of seniors and fewer younger people as life expectancy increases and birth rate declines. In fact, the proportion of residents aged above 65 years has risen by 5.6 percent over the last 10 years. We see this as an opportunity to help meaningfully improve the lives of Singapore’s seniors through our solution.
We’re also thankful to have received the DBS Foundation grant in 2016, which supported our development and marketing efforts for expanding into Singapore. It’s generally challenging for small start-ups like ours to break into new markets, but DBS opened doors for us to business opportunities in Singapore, showed us the ropes of doing business here, and helped to build our network of industry partners and distributors.
3. How is the system implemented in Singapore?
Our PAPAMAMA solution is presently adopted by two rehabilitation centres in Singapore. We are also in talks with major local hospitals and healthcare centres about implementing the system to provide free trials at their facilities, for patients who have undergone medical illnesses that resulted in physical disability or difficulties.
4. Are there currently any collaborations with healthcare policies?
We have not collaborated specifically on healthcare policies yet but are exploring other interesting collaborations that will allow us to create positive impact through varying ways.
One such example is a partnership with real estate developers in Taiwan. They approached us as they wanted to provide our solution as part of the residential facilities, so that seniors could have access to rehabilitation services whenever they want, and without having to travel long distances.
5. Will there be any form of data collection for elderly patients using the system? If so, will the data be used to make future improvements on the system?
Currently, physiotherapists evaluate patients mostly through observation, as well as institutional and professional knowledge. We’re exploring how to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to build a disease evaluation tool where different neuro-skeletal models can be mapped and used to identify physiological or gait abnormalities of the patient. With this AI tool, we seek to gain certainty in patient diagnosis and evaluation by further sharpening and refining the process.
6. Their strategy and future plans for the business – how to balance profitability and social good
LongGood (and our PAPAMAMA tele-rehabilitation system) was conceptualised and founded with the desire to improve quality of life for patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems by democratising access to quality physical rehabilitation programmes.
We’re proud to share that the PAPAMAMA system has benefitted over 1,500 patients in Taiwan since our launch in 2011, and it is our aim to positively impact even more lives by empowering them in their rehabilitation efforts. We see ample potential beyond our shores – particularly in Asia, which is home to some of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world – and our goal is to extend our tele-rehabilitation programme to 120,000 people by 2022, starting with Singapore, Greater China, Hong Kong and Macau. [APBN]
About the Interviewee
Ms Zoe Liang, Chief Operating Officer, LongGood Meditech