Chronic care management company Omada Health is rolling out a new tool that uses computer vision technology to help physical therapists virtually measure a patient's movement and range of motion.
The new technology will be integrated into Omada's musculoskeletal (MSK) services and will be able to provide therapists and patients with a set of longitudinal data.
Omada CEO Sean Duffy said that PTs use functional tests to assess patients. Typically, these tests are done in an in-person setting.
"We are launching this computer vision technology to allow PTs to do functional tests," Duffy told MobiHealthNews. "We send everybody a little stand for their phone. You stand back, and it automatically detects your arm and your shoulder, and as you lift your arm it shows the measurement and records it in your record to create a longitudinal pathing of your function in certain areas."
The technology was designed to give PTs a closer look at their client's range of motion for any body part. According to Omada, the tech uses precise quantitative data and videos of the patient's movements and patterns to gain insights and provide qualitative data that can inform care.
WHY IT MATTERS
Duffy said he sees this advancement as a way to help enable providers. In fact, he said Omada's philosophy is to work with clinicians to provide care, rather than technology taking over for care teams.
"There are many things that machine learning and AI can do to create better experiences on their own, but we see the most promise in leveraging technologies, like this, to again empower care providers. What I always say is, there is a reason that 'artificial intelligence' is a buzzword but 'artificial entity' isn't. In this instance, it's a great example," he said. "It's technology that augments a professional's ability to be better for their patients. There is a lot in our current programs that do that already. This is an amazing example for MSK."
THE LARGER TREND
In May of 2020, Omada acquired Physera, an app-based platform that includes remote consultations with physical therapists, plunging the company into the musculoskeletal care space.
"Physera has an approach that resonated in our belief system, which is you have to have providers," Duffy said. "People are important in care, and you have to design technology to support best practices care and combine with it, not replace it. Physera, unlike some of the others in MSK, has always been really laser-focused on amplifying PT capability through technology, and that really resonated with the way we saw the world, and from a vision standpoint it fit like a glove."
The digital musculoskeletal care space is growing. Hinge Health, a company that cares for MSK health through digital programs with live virtual sessions, raised $300 million in Series D funding in January.