Introducing ReFlex: A wearable smart assistant for physiotherapy rehabilitation

When we talk about people and their needs we must look at Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs. The first and the most important ones of this whole hierarchy of needs are the physiological needs. This means survival and we can mention as being imperiously necessary having air, shelter, water, food, sleep and health. Having a good health means having a balanced diet plan and making sure you keep your body in shape. It can also refer to recovering lost health. This is where we believe we have something important to say.

We wrote in our previous blog post that physiotherapy is a market that didn’t reach full potential of growth and we pointed out few of the reasons why this happened. It is hard to make an estimation about how much this industry will evolve in the years to follow, but one thing is sure: physiotherapists are taking care of more and more patients and they need something to make their life easier.

Clinic owners and insurers need more information about the work of physiotherapists. And so do the patients.

Tech revolution! What we are aiming to improve with ReFlex
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1) Develop a safe and efficient solution for home recovery

Insurance studies showed that 70% of the people are quitting physiotherapy sessions when the pain disappears and they regain their mobility. The reasons are multiple, and we can mention a few of them: cost of treatment, the feeling that they recovered, no more time to dedicate for recovery and the loss of motivation. The worst part is that half of them are able to see the injury reappear in the course of 2-3 years.

After the in-clinical sessions of physical therapy, where the patient in closely monitored by a physiotherapist, there comes the last stage of the rehab which is translated into a home recovery routine, often prescribed on mail or paper and without feedback from the patient. Some clinics from the USA started to charge money for home recovery sessions via Skype calls. This is the time when patients are losing that healthy connection with the recovery specialist and their morale decreases.

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By creating a safe environment for the patients to reach complete recovery in the last stage of the process, when it is most needed, we make the population healthier and we help physiotherapists to make better use of their knowledge. The patient will rent the sensors from the clinic and it will be very easy for them to complete the sessions from home, whenever they want. They will be motivated to do it by the physiotherapist, who can remotely monitor their activity and feedback.


2) Upgrade the business metrics. New opportunities

Talking with many managers, we understood how hard it is for the physiotherapy clinics to scale. For instance, raising the number of patients per physiotherapist ratio (thus making an employee more profitable), without reducing the clinical outcomes or the service quality is a very hard task. Hiring physiotherapists is also a hard thing to do sometimes. The junior physiotherapists need a lot of time to be trained and to be able to fulfil their tasks and senior physiotherapists are hard to find because every clinic needs them.
In order to grow a business like this you must provide the same high quality experience to all of your customers. This needs to be reflected in very strict clinical protocols, with tools that can provide clear KPI’s for the business owners.

Technology can now improve the efficiency of the physiotherapy clinics and help the managers implement their clinical protocol, just like the best clinics in the world do. Being well organised and ensuring that a particular protocol and workflow are pursued by all the physiotherapists, you can deliver the same amount of quality and have happy patients. Happy patients will raise the adherence and more recommendations will come.


3) The quality of the physiotherapist’s service

There are cases when the physiotherapist is working with more than one patient at a time, so it’s very hard for them to stay continuously focused on the correct movement for each of the patient’s exercises and repetitions. They need to explain every move more than once, give important details during sessions and also create motivation for the patients.b1
Physiotherapists today need to improve their conversational and psychological skills in order to create and maintain a close relationship with the patient. And this is a big challenge for some of them.

 

By relying on technology, the physiotherapist can easily monitor the patients during their training and provide them a visualization of the correct movement. To make an efficient motivation with the help of technology he can show the patient his recovery progress.

4) More trust from the insurance companies

In many countries, the costs of health insurance policies were raised by the insurance companies. There are even insurers that do not reimburse the physiotherapy sessions and one argument they have for this is that they believe this practice needs more standardization and they did not found a way to monitor how the physiotherapy is done and if the patient achieves complete recovery, in order to be safe from sustaining another similar injury.

The numbers speak for themselves. In the US, 25 out of every 100 patients who do not achieve complete recovery, need surgery. This means more money from the insurance companies to pay in this weak chain link.

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How can these things change and physiotherapy to gain more trust?
The clinics should give out activity reports with every insured patient’s recovery status and history.
Providing this kind of transparency and reports over the billing and claims process, the insurers will have less reasons to fear the recurring injuries and this could solve a couple of important problems. It will again benefit the entire system. The patients will become more motivated in finishing recovery, in order to get the reimbursement. The clinics will have more patients because their services will be reimbursed. The physiotherapist will treat more patients and have a bigger income.

Feedback from partner to partner

You are a physiotherapist or a clinic owner/manager and you believe that technology can revolutionize physiotherapy? Subscribe here and let’s talk. You can be part of a research that will identify the needs of the physiotherapy industry and find solutions to the most common problems. In return, you will get the chance of becoming our clinical test partner, who will receive free sensors and free solution personalization. Act as a research partner with us and you will get the exclusivity in using our solution.

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