TOP 4 major technology improvements for today’s physiotherapy

We are living the days of a true technology revolution. The entire medical technology industry was estimated worldwide in 2015 to an astonishing 336.2 billion $ market (1). This changed the way the physicians used to work and, today, more than 40% out of them go online during a patient visit and the most popular content consumed is drug reference databases. (2). 86% of the physicians said that they have mobile based technology in their practice for accessing electronic medical records. And this is not all. 94% of physicians use mobile consulting apps while working (3).
Almost all medical sectors joined this revolution and the use of technology increased in the last 20 years. Medicine relies on the use of technology. Imagine diagnosis without an X-ray machine or kidney dialysis without a dialyzer or think about how the digital hearing aid technology is winning the war against the analog technology.
poza1 In physiotherapy, things are not like that. Even though the physiotherapists are doing a great job and reached a level of knowledge that in most countries in Europe is equal to the level of a recovery doctor, with the physiotherapist becoming the first point of contact with the patient, the use of technology it’s still low. 1) Very expensive equipment for most of the clinics In the initial assessment, most physiotherapists are using a plastic goniometer to measure the range of motion of an injured knee or elbow. Some of them see things differently than others and choose to use an electronic goniometer that can read continuously as arms or knees are adjusted, has a better accuracy and can also have a holding function, so they can make sure that they never forget a measurement. The first method is not wrong, but we believe there’s a lot of room to improve. There exists other revolutionary equipment that would help a physiotherapist, for example an Alter-G treadmill that can cost up to 75.000 dollars, but most clinics can’t afford it. 2) Physiotherapists are in high demand. Seniors are hard to find We asked several clinic owners in Europe how the physiotherapy methods evolved in the last 10 years. All the answers were similar and they can be summarized to this: “The methods remained the same. The treatment is the same. The only difference is that now we have acupuncture and massage therapists.”
Physiotherapy is such an important practice and will continue to grow because modern people tend to get less involved in physical activity and have dangerous eating diets and habits. In Germany for instance, in 2013, Eurostat counted 167.000 physiotherapist (4). This means 205 physiotherapists for 100.000 people.
poza2 The need of specialists in this sector is still high, but if you compare it to the dentists (82 per 100.000) and pharmacists (63 per 100.000 people), it is very high. We looked at the number of physiotherapists employed in United Kingdom, Belgium, Estonia, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary and other European countries and guess what? This number is growing every year. (5) 3) You can measure physiotherapy “What you can't measure you can't improve” (Sir. William Thomson, Lord Kelvin) The use of technology helped a lot of industries evolve and become more profitable. Think about how productive the day of an architect, engineer or graphic designer was, in the days before AutoCAD took over and changed everything. poza3 Ever heard of a AS/RS robot? The archiving industry became a successful business after the implementation of the AS/RS systems (Automated storage and retrieval system). The top archiving companies are moving all the paper files online to be accessed at any time by the customer’s employees when they need to find specific information, and invest in the AS/RS robots to deliver any paper file from the archives in no time. The same technology is used in distribution organization’s warehouse. Optimizing the retrieval system increased the storage density, decreased the labor costs and helped them improve the order accuracy. poza4 Another example to look at is the industry of financial services. Those days when tasks were handled with human interactions, big computers and paper money are long gone. The digital interfaces revolution has made finance industry become in 2015 the second most profitable sector in the world, after health technology, according to Forbes (6). 4) A hard business to scale The success of a physiotherapy clinic is in direct connection to the quality of services provided by the employees. To grow and to move the clinic into a bigger location or open another clinic under the same brand, one should ensure that the quality of service fits the standards, so there are lots of other things to take into considerations when making such a big step. There are other ways of increasing revenues and helping physiotherapists gain more experience by treating more patients with ease and technology can help. There are ways to scale as a business and even though it might seem hard for a manager to boost revenue with a minimal increase in operating costs, it isn’t. That’s why we created ReFlex – a smart assistant for the physiotherapy process and a product that aims to help the entire physiotherapy chain: patients, physiotherapists, clinic owners and even insurance companies. poza5 ReFlex is a set of wearable motion detection sensors together with a mobile app and a web platform. The sensor can track, monitor and analyze every movement done by a patient struggling with a hand, leg, back or shoulder injury. It will identify the exercises they are doing and it will also count them. It can also detect and signal dangerous behavior or the limitations set by the physiotherapist in terms of motion, angles, speed and trajectory. A research into physiotherapy! Sign up to get it for free To understand from all perspectives the needs of patients, physiotherapists, clinic owners and insurers, we talked with our highly skilled advisors. Our arguments were validated, but we wanted to be 100% sure, so we decided to dig further. We set for ourselves the challenge of taking interviews from 100 clinics worldwide (owners and physiotherapists), 100 patients and 100 insurance managers to find out what their struggles are and how we can help. After the first stage of interviews, from Hong Kong to Montreal and from Bucharest to London, we have found out the main aspects we must focus on and how ReFlex can solve these problems. poza6 All the important data we collected will be part of a research paper. To find out how the best physiotherapists and clinic managers are handling their problems you can SIGN UP here and you’ll receive it on your e-mail when it’s ready.  

Hello, world! Meet the team who created ReFlex

We would like to say Hello! to everyone in the physiotherapy industry, from physiotherapists to clinic owners and patients. We are ReFlex, a startup based in Bucharest (Romania) and we managed to create a smart assistant for physiotherapists, a device that can change the way we see the rehabilitation.
The story of ReFlex began with a first step made by Camil Moldoveanu (Multiple European & World champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Jiu Jitsu) in a physiotherapy clinic in Romania, shortly after becoming a European champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His knee injury put him through an 8-week rehabilitation process. Our colleague only completed half of the rehab prescribed to him by the recovery doctor. He felt his knee was strong enough to step back on the mats, and for 2 years he was right.
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Camil (CEO of ReFlex) doing physiotherapy to recover his knee

The problems got pretty bad after those 2 years! He sustained another injury at the same knee. Only this time physiotherapy couldn’t help and he is now scheduled for surgery. Thinking back on those mistakes he made and searching for reasons why he didn’t complete his rehab, Camil found some interesting conclusions which led him to a wonderful idea. One of the reasons for quitting the rehab was the poor communication he established with the physiotherapist and the absence of a precise progress tracker. Another important reason was that he didn’t fully understand when the rehabilitation process ends and when could he return to the mats.
Going further with those issues, he found out that the average recovery process lasts around 3 months and most patients feel they can complete those exercises from home after one month. The home recovery is still far from being a safe zone for patients, as the physiotherapy clinic is. Working out from home means that you get a simple set of exercises in order to prevent pain in the injured joint. You don’t get any feedback from your physiotherapist and he can’t monitor your progress.
70% of the people don't finish recovery The statistics behind this behavior showed that 70% of the people don’t finish recovery. 50% of them get injured again in 2-3 years, in the same joint and from those, another 50% end up in surgery. This means 17 surgeries out of every 100 patients that give up the physiotherapy procedures too early. This is how it all started

Talking about these facts with his friend and business partner Andrei Kluger (CTO), Camil had the idea to create a device that can help patients recover faster. So this is how ReFlex came to life. Andrei and Camil were already into wearables. In 2015, they became partners in Jaboo (http://www.jaboo.io/) and shared the experience of creating a smart wristband used in Boxing and MMA that was meant to improve the technique.aszzzz

Jaboo was a runner up at Startup Spotlight (How to Web Conference 2015)

Andrei is our hardware and software engineer and everybody out here knows that he is the brain behind all the complex algorithms needed by ReFlex. With the experience he gained while developing sensor monitored networks and bomb detection robots for the army and the government, Andrei used two small wearable sensors attached to a set of elastic bands that can track, monitor and analyze the movements of the hands, legs, back and shoulders. He later put together all the important data recorded and created a mobile app that provides real time feedback and a web platform which connects the physiotherapist with the patients. start

Andrei Kluger (left) and Camil Moldoveanu (right), talking with a startup advisor at the Microsoft Accelerators Bootcamp

~1 million dollars at the first evaluation  This ambitious project was part of the MVP Academy 2016, a pre-acceleration program for tech startups. We were selected from more than 200 teams and the amount of experience gained helped us a lot. This tech accelerator opened the opportunity of speaking with amb Holding, an Austrian company, who evaluated our startup at approximately 1 million dollars. Product design  It wasn’t enough to have smart features in order to develop a product for physiotherapy clinics that will be used by patients as well. It needed to look good and patients to feel comfortable wearing it. So we talked with Irina Alexandru (foto) and proposed her to join our team. 13718737_10209935636046347_4407795538431447264_n Another important part of the designing team is the UX design (User experience design), where Tatiana Carp is going all in with all her knowledge and experience. Software developers The iOS development will meet Andrei Vig, who is a co-founder of a successful location tracking gadget called Tintag. The embedded software developer role was assigned based on skill and passion to Oana Joita. She developed software solutions for many years now and she had the sensors know-how after an interesting project implemented in the oil industry. She studied in Belgium and for her bachelor diploma, she implemented an effective technology for controlling the industrial processes. Medical advisor One of our physiotherapy advisors is Alin Popescu, head of sports medicine within the biggest private healthcare operator in Romania. He is also the Physiotherapist and Medical Manager at the Romanian Rugby Federation. Social media The content of the blog and social media are in the hands of a sports journalist, Daniel Ciuta. He was part of the team that, back in 2007, launched www.sport.ro, the biggest website in Romania and he is a BJJ practitioner too (peaceful guy). In the following blog posts, we will talk about the struggles we found out after talking with dozens of physiotherapy clinics, physiotherapists and patients and how we plan to solve with ReFlex most of the common problems. You will hear from us soon! Keep us close! alt