Wearable for workplace injury prevention comes to the US

By Jonah Comstock
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ViSafeAn FDA-cleared clinical grade activity tracking system has come to the US for use in workplace injury prevention. The ViSafe system, from Australian company dorsaVi, has previously been deployed in Australia and the UK in fields ranging from retail to mining.

"It’s our goal to reduce movement-related risk during the work task and we want to make workplace environments safer,"dorsaVi US president John Kowalczyk told MobiHealthNews. "We think that is a value proposition that resonates with many stakeholders and that we’re positioned to offer a very unique and proprietary solution to an age-old challenge. We recognize that workers’ comp generates $80 billion in costs a year and we also know that those documentations of over-exertion work-related injuries, things like lifting and pulling and sorting and bending and things like that, contribute to about $15.1 billion a year of direct costs."

With the ViSafe system, a worker wears the tracker periodically during work tasks, and the software analyzes data about the strain the work is putting on different muscles and joints. From there, ViSafe makes recommendations about what sorts of movement the worker should reduce or avoid.

"From those recommendations, we would work with the client or the insurer to say how would we ergonomically change the areas of risky movement to reduce the cumulative effect over time, which we believe will then translate to a reduction in injury, which then translates to a reduction in workers’ comp costs and the associated challenges with work-related injuries," Kowalczyk said.

The company will work with self-insured employers, insurance companies, and insurance brokers.

DorsaVi got FDA clearance last year for its ViMove product, which has a similar set up but intended for clinical use. Kowalczyk says the company has gone back to the FDA to expand ViMove's labelling so it can also be used with employer and insurer clients in the case of lower back injuries.

"[ViSafe is really focused on] how do we prevent the injury from occurring before it happens?" he said. "But we also know the reality there will be workers who unfortunately do get injured, and have sustained lower back injuries. And that’s where ViMove will play an important role from a clinical perspective to hep them get back to work."

DorsaVi US has already signed a deal with a major New York-based insurer, who Kowalczyk declined to disclose, and is negotiating with a number of "well-known global brands." In addition, the company's third offering for sports teams, ViPerform, is being used by NFL, NBA, and soccer teams in the US.