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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Madonna’s Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering steers in-house innovation

October 18, 2016

Powered by partnerships — clinicians, researchers, students and patients — the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering’s groundbreaking research is bringing exciting, life-changing rehabilitation technology to patients at Madonna and around the world.

“Our efforts are a vital extension of Madonna’s mission — to equip those who have sustained injuries or disabling conditions with the tools necessary so that they can resume activities that give their lives meaning. We drive our research and development agenda by the needs of our patients and the clinicians and caregivers who serve them,” said Institute Director Judith Burnfield, Ph.D.

The institute, which is funded by Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals, federal agencies, private foundations and donors, encompasses four core research centers:

The Movement and Neurosciences Center of Excellence — employs cutting-edge technology to study human movement and create new treatment approaches to restore individuals’ mobility, health, wellness and independence.

The Communication Center of Excellence — develops, evaluates and implements new and emerging technologies for use at home and in the community so patients can reconnect with others and their environment.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Center of Excellence — brings novel tools and instruments to life, through prototypes and 3-D printers, to help patients gain independence and resume meaningful activities. Three-dimensional printed innovations include a customized coupling device that connects a baby stroller with a manual wheelchair, enabling a parent to simultaneously push their baby and their patient.

The Clinical Informatics Center of Excellence — harnesses the power of data analytics to identify patterns that contribute to the best patient short- and long-term outcomes. “In some other settings, devices or treatments are created in search of a need. We take the opposite approach. We find the unmet needs of our clinicians and patients, we immerse ourselves in the existing scientific literature, and we then work to create a solution,” Burnfield said.

Because the innovation is in-house, Madonna patients have access to many cutting-edge treatment approaches much sooner than patients elsewhere.

A case in point — the Madonna ICARE (Intelligently Controlled Assistive Rehabilitation Elliptical) by SportsArt, a patented trainer created by Madonna researchers through funding by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.