MossRehab using chatbot technology to help people with traumatic brain injuries

Examples of the RehaBot used by MossRehab. The chatbot technology, all conducted via text messages, helps patients with traumatic brain injuries stay on track between sessions with their therapists. Photo credit MossRehab

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Depression and a lack of motivation are common for people with traumatic brain injuries, according to Dr. Amanda Rabinowitz, a scientist at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in Elkins Park.

MossRehab is using RehaBot, which uses interactive chatbot technology, to help patients stay on track between sessions with their therapists. It’s all conducted via text messages.

“It knows all about the individual patient’s goals, plans, activities and values. So this way, this chatbot is always available to the individual between their therapy sessions, to provide reminders and support and encouragement to execute their plans,” Rabinowitz said.

RehaBot can be used to remind the patient about scheduled activities or events and be as interactive as chatbots on retail store websites.

“Get reminders of their plans, track their accomplishments, get positive reinforcing feedback,” she added. “We think that this is going to be a really effective way to keep people focused on maintaining their progress and give them that sense of joy and accomplishment and pull them out of the depression.”

People with brain injuries are eight times more likely to be depressed than the general population, Rabinowitz said, so this technology could really make a difference.

RehaBot is only in the research phase and not currently available to the general public.​