by Stewart Levy R.Ph., HealthWell Solutions
There has been an explosion of new digital health companies that are tackling the epidemic of rising musculoskeletal costs through Artificial Intelligence (AI) . Some of these new applications can analyze body positions to allow users to perform movement assessment and exercises to support physical therapy, enhance mobility and provide fitness assessments based on 44 joints in a body’s kinetic chain. There are tremendous benefits to allow for tele-PT and remote physical therapy sessions along with self-directed sessions with corrective response from the applications. There is promise to rehab existing and prevent injuries to reduce costs and the need for opioid treatment.
MSK Impact and Cost Drivers
The need for new technology solutions to tackle the rising costs of musculoskeletal disease implemented in the workplace has never been so great. According to a report issued by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI), an estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition comparable to the total percentage of Americans living with a chronic lung or heart condition. For employers, the cost is an estimated $213 billion in annual treatment, care, and lost wages. Several evidence-based approaches have been shown to improve the overall wellbeing of the employers’ workforce, including onsite stretching clinics, workstation risk assessments, and Tele-PT services that can quickly triage and identify workplace injuries as well as determine which require immediate follow-up. Most recently, motion tracking software companies have addressed the barriers and efficiencies to provide widescale MSK health remotely.
Benefits of Motion-Based Tracking for Fitness and PT
Motion based tracking systems for physical therapy and fitness have been developed by several leading AI companies and the benefits to both users and healthcare practitioners are clear.
- Empower PT’s to create efficient workflow to see more patients
- Potential to prevent injury and reduce the number or patients that require surgical intervention
- CPT codes for remote treatment and monitoring of patients
- Software can improve Worker’s Comp and disability claims by preventing injury
- Potential for more compliance to prescribed exercises
- Less missed PT in person sessions due to unforeseen circumstances
- Measurable results and reporting for range of motion and performance
- Range of motion validated assessments for strength and flexibility
- Complement and teach exercises to members
- Platform includes home exercisers or travel
- Scientifically analyze full kinetic chain of movement to support personalized fitness plans
Overview of Major Motion Tracking Platforms
- Kemtai– Working with Digital MSK and physiotherapy companies, Kemtai can run on any device and guide users as if a therapist was there with them. The technology provides data to further personalize and optimize engagement. In addition to creating AI-guided Home Exercise Protocols Kemtai provides digital range-of-motion assessments and a robust API framework on a person’s mobile phone, tablet or PC.
- Kinotek– A platform that delivers accurate metrics and reporting in a way that is fast, portable, affordable and immersive that requires a special camera
- Dario Health– Digital therapeutics platform- A simple, small wearable device alerts users when they start to slouch.
- Hinge Health– Personalized care for back and joint pain. Wearables sensors, personalized exercise therapy, and 1:1 coaching sessions.
- Omada – Members receive proactive support and science-backed intervention. Omada uses a nationwide network of licensed physical therapists.
- Kaia– PT-grade automated feedback delivered to your smartphone. Integrates with leading medical providers.
- Recovery One– Personalized plan, on-demand exercises, and a support software squad that complements AI Technology
Motion-Based Tracking Technology and Healthcare Applications
Healthcare providers are applying computer vision technology to gather more information on how patients interact with their environments, which has the potential to improve the quality of patient care. The computer vision analysis generates usage and performance data that healthcare providers can leverage to personalize patient engagement. Tracking this data allows patients and therapists to review progress and receive feedback more efficiently than ever before. It can greatly improve the treatment process and make it affordable, accessible, and engaging for both therapist and patient. The technology can eliminate unnecessary need for a trip to a clinic or hospital. By tracking their progress, the physical therapist can see if their patient is adhering to prescribed exercise routines. Patient’s benefit from not having to invest in and maintain any heavy or specialized equipment, which can have a financial impact. Patients have more control over their money, time, and privacy. It is more convenient for patients that can use their own smartphones and perform the exercises at home alone when it’s best for them, instead of having to comply to strict scheduling.
For therapists, this technology is also a game changer. Motion tracking gives the therapist a more detailed view of each patient’s progress over time allowing them to better plan future treatment sessions as well as adjust if necessary in real-time or between visits. This technology can be used to track patient progress, provide feedback and guidance, help patients adhere to their home exercise program, and stay motivated and engaged in their own treatment.
Hospital systems can see less readmissions following surgery and better outcomes with increased compliance to prescribed rehabilitation routines. Health systems can also see an increased patient flow and reimbursement revenue from this breakthrough technology. Occupational health clinics can help keep their patients pain free and prevent further injury while also getting people back to work sooner which will increase productivity and absenteeism.
There are many new AI solutions for MSK Health that have promise to address the prevalence and financial burden for employers. The best solutions that we have tested include mobile apps for ease of use and don’t require additional accessories or sensors; just a phone or laptop with a forward facing camera. Further, Motion-Based technology can be incorporated as standalone platform or integrated into a wellness portal as a comprehensive total workers health solution.
HealthWell Solutions is a health management company that provides customized corporate health and wellness solutions to drive successful health outcomes. Learn more about Healthwell Solutions customized HUB Platforms for your employee wellness needs.