Physitrack lands first major UK payer partnership to offer virtual physical therapy platform

By Heather Mack
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UK provider network IPRS Health has launched the virtual physical therapy platform from Physitrack to their customers under global insurer QBE, allowing patients to use app-based physiotherapy in lieu of some in-person sessions.

The QBE deal is a big one for Physitrack, which was founded in 2012 and has enjoyed considerable success across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. QBE is the first private payer in the UK to start offering the virtual physical therapy service, but Physitrack said it immediately opened the door for other large payers to follow.

“It’s a domino effect,” Physitrack CEO Henrik Molin told MobiHealthNews. “We signed this deal, and we have nine more payers lined up who are going to go live with the service next week, so essentially all of IPRS will have access to the platform.”

Physitrack’s virtual platform, which will be white-labeled under IPRS Health, intends to offer a better solution to patients who are preparing or recovering from surgery, such as joint replacement, than the traditional paper-based exercise regimens that can be difficult to follow and often result in poor recovery outcomes. The platform’s remote monitoring and compliance tracking makes both parties more accountable, and patients also have access to educational content. To start a new program, physicians choose from over 3,500 fully narrated exercise videos and more than 180 program templates to create tailored prescriptions for each patient. Physitrack is priced on a per-minute basis, so depending on the organization size, they will purchase a package of time and get reimbursed accordingl, and the platform can livestream videos with integrated telehealth capabilities to allow for video consultations and secure messaging.

The company has made steady gains in the last year, and counts everything from small clinics to large health systems and payers as clients. A big part of their recent success is the Apple-directed partnership with mobile EHR company drchrono, which the company announced last month. Tapped directly by Apple under the tech giant’s largely stealthy Mobility Partner Program, the two companies joined to integrate Physitrack’s home exercise program into drchrono’s EHR on the web, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch. Immediately, that offered Physitrack access to over 100,000 new customers.

"We wouldn't be where we are today without Apple," said Molin. "Having that design, that reach and that kind of money is not common to most companies, and we have a lot of plans for where we can go through that partnership."

But getting payers onboard is an even faster way to rapid expansion. The company has a number of payer deals in the works across Europe and Australia, as well as a few in the states, and they believe those partnerships will be key to scaling up across the pond, said Michael Michael Sloniewsky, who leads Physitrack’s operations in North America.

“Seeing what QBE can do for us in the UK space will be a big boost to signing key payer relationships in the US,” Sloniewsky told MobiHealthNews.

The service, which is only available through doctors, isn’t meant to totally replace regular in-office physical therapy visits, but to extend the clinicians reach and make it more convenient for patients to stay on track with their care. The company said the platform been popular with providers not only for improving their care, but also driving new revenue in places they may otherwise be losing money from missed appointments or non-compliant patients.
 
“Physical therapy is visit-driven, skilled care historically delivered in-clinic. It’s very hands on, so by no means are we replacing that, but we are augmenting that so the patient does more out of clinic instead of not keeping up with their visits and potentially not getting better or wasting resources,” Sloniewsky said. “It’s almost opening a new market, because it can also be used for a whole sector of the population that would otherwise not have access.”

Building on that, Molin noted how smaller clinics without the necessary staff or resources to offer a full physical therapy service could use Physitrack to create one.

“It’s a positive thing for clinics. I don’t think it’s a danger at all in terms of losing revenue opportunities because they are using the platform instead of in-person visits,” Molin said. “If you are a physician with an iPad, you can start your own physiotherapy clinic that you could scale up accordingly where you schedule some in-office, some remote, and you still get paid with a nice little virtual side business.”