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Mobility in the Face of Fall Risk: The Case for Digital Solutions

Mobility in the Face of Fall Risk: The Case for Digital Solutions Article Image

30. April 2021

On Thursday, May 20, 18:15, David Bruce Matchar, Inaugural Director of the Programme in Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS Medical School (Singapore), gave a lecture in this year's DSI lecture series Society on the Move: The Digital Transformation of Mobility.

In this event, Prof. David Matchar presented the results of his study that aimed to reduce fall risk with elderly people in Singapore. He demonstrated that the research group’s intervention, called SAFE, was able to effectively lower the risk of falls. However the program remains to be quite expensive and it is up to further research and advancements in technology to reduce the costs of such an intervention. The talk ended with several questions relating to data protection policies, data collection processes, and differences in cultural aspects of Singapore in comparison to other Western countries. Overall, the crowd was very engaged in the discussion.



Falls, particularly common in the elderly, are a leading cause of death, disability, and health care costs and fear of falling leads to reduced mobility. In Singapore, similar to other developed countries, falls represent the leading cause of trauma in the elderly and account for 85% of all elderly patients with trauma seen in the emergency department (ED). We have demonstrated that multicomponent, tailored interventions to prevent injurious falls in high-risk individuals can be both effective – potentially reducing injurious falls by half – and cost effective. However, such programs require substantial effort and resources to implement sustainably at a national level, raising the issue of whether we can develop a strategy to focus such programs on those most likely to benefit.

This presentation will illuminate the rationale for use of digital technology in the domain of falls prevention and set the general parameters of a cost-effective and sustainable use case.



Professor David B. Matchar, MD, is the Inaugural Director of the Programme in Health Services and Systems Research (HSSR). He is also Professor of Medicine at Duke University in the United States. He received his AB in Statistics from Princeton University. After completing his MD degree and residency training he served as fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine at Duke.
His research relates to clinical practice improvement – from the development of clinical policies to their implementation in real world clinical settings. Most recently his major content focus has been cerebrovascular disease. Other major clinical areas in which he works include the range of disabling neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer prevention. Notable features of his work are: (1) reliance on analytic strategies such as meta-analysis, simulation, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis; (2) a balancing of methodological rigor the needs of medical professionals; and (3) dependence on interdisciplinary groups of experts.

Click here for the event overview of the Digital Society Initiative with further information on the lecture and the speaker.


General information about the lecture series

Society on the Move: The Digital Transformation of Mobility
Progress of digitalization has been affecting mobility related aspects of individuals, society, and systems. Associated promises range from the improvement of citizen well-being, economic efficiency gains, more sustainable livelihoods, to opening up new extra-terrestrial endeavours.
In this lecture series both, scholars and industry representatives will offer their perspectives on questions such as: What challenges and potential pitfalls are associated with the digitalization of mobility? Will we become too dependent on technology? How can these developments be beneficial to society?

The DSI Lecture Series was organised in cooperation with the DSI Community Mobility. The Community Mobility is a group of researchers who conduct interdisciplinary research on digital mobility projects. All lectures take place on Thursdays from 18.15-19.45 as digital events (Zoom).