Wearable Powered Exoskeletons to Enable Walking after Spinal Cord Injury

June 1, 2016 | Technology Forecasts


Note: The following ratings and comments reflect the opinions and consensus of an expert panel convened by ECRI Institute to review information on this topic.

Anticipated Utilization: 2 (Expected to be used by 20% to 40% of eligible patients)

Manufacturers of powered exoskeleton systems report that more than 90% of spinal cord injury rehabilitation facilities in the United States have access to the technology for institutional use. Use for home care became available in mid-2014, although high costs and lack of insurance coverage appear to be limiting use in this setting. The physical requirements that the technology places on patients may also limit utilization. In the United States, veterans might have better access to the technology for home use. In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a national policy for the evaluation, training, and procurement of ReWalk Personal exoskeleton systems for all qualifying veterans across the United States.

Estimated Adoption Status: 4 (Middle adoption – 25% to 75% of facilities that would be expected to adopt have adopted)

In the United States and Europe, rehabilitation hospitals have had access to powered exoskeletons since 2010. As of May 2016, two powered exoskeletons (ReWalk™ Personal ReWalk Robotics Ltd., Yokneam, Israel and Indego® Parker Hannifin Corp., Cleveland, OH, USA) were available for personal use in the United States. Companies report low adoption of the personal use systems due to their high cost and lack of reimbursement. However, in December 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a...

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