Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation
Prof. J.S. (Hans) Rietman MD, PhD is physiatrist and professor in Rehabilitation Medicine & Technology at the University of Twente. He performs his clinical work as a rehabilitation physician at Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation. He is also appointed at the research institute Roessingh Research and Development and member of the Biomedical Technological Institute of the University of Twente and adjunct professor at Northwestern University Chicago.
In 2014 he became president of the Netherlands Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (NSRM).
His research focuses on the clinical use of technology in restoration of functions in patients with neurological disorders and patients with amputations of upper and lower extremities. He is actively involved in a diversity of (inter-) national projects focusing on Rehabilitation Robotics and Active Assistive Devices. In 2016 he became medical director of the Center of research excellence Innovative Medical Devices Initiative (IMDI) SPRINT and since 2018 he is leader of this national program IMDI 2.0. He is co-editor of the Dutch book of Rehabilitation Medicine for adults and the Dutch book of Amputation and Prosthetics of the lower extremities and (co)author of more than 90 Pubmed cited articles.
Rehabilitation and Technology; Care for the Future?
In the coming decades, there will be a growing need for care for people with chronic diseases. At the same time, people coping with disabilities strive for autonomy and social participation. This strive is, in turn, one of the core fundaments of Rehabilitation Medicine as it aims to improve functions and skills of patients with disabilities caused by congenital or acquired disorders, to optimize their self-management and to maximize their autonomy and ability to participate in social activities.
In this context, the proposed new definition of health by M. Huber: The ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of social, physical and emotional challenges of live, fits very well into the vision of rehabilitation medicine.
Supportive technical devices like prostheses, orthoses and wheelchairs can help to regain and remain functional skills and tasks. They can actually improve the persons abilities to stay independent. The interaction between the adaptive capabilities of a person and the adaptive capacities of the assistive device will define the level of functional ability. Indeed in the face of social, physical and emotional challenges of live. Technical improvements in sensing, actuation and artificial intelligence in these assistive devices makes them more and more functional embedded to the human body. Will it be possible to improve the original?
Based on the new definition of health we feel that the field of Rehabilitation Medicine should shift it’s paradigm from treating the consequences of the disease to achieving the highest levels of functioning and self-management.