PT Genie: Transforming the Realm of Physical Therapy
Dr. Reuben Gobezie, Co-Founder
Over the past several years, there has been an increasing focus on creating a true value-based healthcare system that controls costs and improves the “value” of care being delivered. However, implementing the value agenda is not a one-off effort; the adoption of a patient-first culture and the expectation of consistent and measurable improvement demand an open-ended commitment. Among the strongest advocates for “value” is Dr. Reuben Gobezie, who has created a digital health platform that modernizes physical therapy—a procedure that has changed very little over the years.
Having dabbled with various technologies and acquired multiple patents for medical devices in the last two decades, Gobezie has witnessed the ‘systole and diastole’ in the industry and the pace at which technology has advanced in many areas of orthopedic care. Gobezie, one of the top 25 shoulder specialists in the U.S. as ranked by leaders in the field, sensed the need for mathematically equaling the “value” and the “outcomes” of a healthcare intervention eight years ago. It wasn’t a reach for Gobezie to realize that technology implementation in physical therapy in orthopedic practices has not changed significantly in decades. There were no scalable ways to standardize or compare differing physical therapy regimens. Moreover, the industry lacked a quantitative way of capturing patient compliance and the digital means to measure each patient’s progress in the recovery process. The value equation was desperately in need of improvement until PT Genie was born. Mastering the value agenda, Gobezie placed his winning wager on a new strategy to bring more value to the orthopedic sector and drive excellence in outcomes.
Gobezie co-founded PT Genie in 2018, with Dr. Laurence Higgins, knowing the realm of physical therapy needed a shift in its mindset. That shift spurred the vision to optimize the value-based healthcare equation through innovations in physical therapy.
The results vindicate the vision.
PT Genie has notched up its efforts to transform the orthopedic sector and “move the needle on value-based care.” “I learned that 35 percent of the cost of an injury or a surgical procedure in orthopedics is consumed by physical therapy. Yet, in four decades, very little has changed in this physical therapy space. Patients, today, find physical therapy nothing but an inconvenient experience. The reality is, they pay for the therapy and attend the sessions without having the ability to track their progress and measure the outcome. The realm of physical therapy is in need of drastic improvement, and clearly, there has been a lack of innovation,” reveals Gobezie. To bridge this market gap, Gobezie and his team at PT Genie developed a patented, interactive, and avatar-based physical therapy training platform. The device makes it easier for healthcare providers to monitor the progress of patients during a physical therapy protocol. They can also access their patient’s data through a simple smartphone application to view compliance, monitor functional improvement, and recognize areas that need to be addressed.
Creating a Care Pathway to Success
A digital health platform modernizing physical therapy, PT Genie can be accessed through a mobile app to provide an immediate home care programs is a significant problem, with estimates of non-adherence as high as 65 percent, potentially having a detrimental effect on clinical outcomes. The main reason for non-adherence—in cases when employers or insurers are paying for the patients as a part of workers’ compensation—is that the patients often lack the knowledge and understanding of the basic health information and services.
Gobezie explains, “There are 168 hours in a week, out of which patients attend two therapy sessions for one hour each. The remaining extra hours they are supposed to invest in home therapy programs. However, studies show that home program compliance of the best patients is only 35 percent on average. This low percentage of compliance intensifies the need to create data that really quantifies what a patient is doing. In addition, patients also have no way of knowing if they are performing the movements precisely.”
PT Genie equips patients with comfortable, three-dimensional, stick-on sensors that are attached to their bodies during their physical therapy protocol. The avatar-guided therapy platform provides patients with the personal direction they need to perform the movements correctly, and the sensors feed data to the system that allows the patient’s doctor to review the progress and provide feedback in real time. PT Genie also helps patients through exercise and rehabilitation plans, teaching new exercises, guiding the sessions, and providing real-time instruction and feedback that encourages patients to complete the exercise properly.
On the other hand, for healthcare providers, the lack of EMRs in the physical therapy process is a significant challenge. There is no real electronic method of evaluating the quality of a patient’s physical therapy experience. PT Genie fills that void. The system acts as an EMR as it provides scalability, portability, accuracy, and electronic data acquisition for all patients. “We can also provide doctors with a comparative analysis of the rehabilitation programs, monitoring patients outside of their visit to compare and quantify their therapy with other doctors’ and patients’ and, in turn, improve their therapy. We bring this innovation to study human behavior and how it impacts the results,” he adds.
Elucidating further, Gobezie cites a scenario where he and his team conducted pilot studies with their software and noticed that they were able to increase compliance by 78 percent using PT Genie. With access to real-time feedback, the company was able to cut down the hassles of therapy visits. For or a 12-week protocol—comparing it to people who did not use this platform and adopted traditional therapy—PT Genie was able to reduce the recovery time by about 60 percent.
From a financial perspective, patients pay $30 to $40 for each therapy visit. With PT Genie, on the other hand, if a patient signs up for a six-week-long program, six packets with three hydrogel stickers in each of them are delivered. While each package costs $25, the patient can use them for seven days a week, instead of merely two hours during a therapy visit. The cost-savings compared to therapy visits are significant. The length of the program can be customized as per patient needs. The sensors are mailed to the patients’ residences along with a clip. Physical therapy companies, healthcare providers, and hospitals as well as insurance companies can subscribe to the software platform for relevant use cases and help their patients register on the platform. Healthcare providers and insurance companies can opt for different levels of software subscription. “There’s a software level subscription that allows them to track multiple providers across different offices. This can help them achieve the next level of regional understanding of the field using data related to costs, the number of visits, the patient compliance, and more,” informs Gobezie. With PT Genie, insurance companies as well as healthcare systems are benchmarked, whereby they can compare themselves with other competitors, enabling a truly data-driven value-based healthcare.
As trends move toward value-based care in orthopedics, PT Genie’s efforts to provide greater value to patients is coming to fruition with better outcomes that can be achieved faster and more cost-effectively. Moving ahead, PT Genie has multiple pilot programs in the pipeline. It has a unique value proposition in place and is just a matter of penetrating the market. Currently, the company is finalizing the software and hardware components of its smart physical therapy system and is planning to go big next year, particularly on the software side. “We are amassing a sophisticated scientific advisory board comprised of seasoned orthopedic professionals, who are leaders at big institutions across the country. We’re excited about our big play next year,” concludes Gobezie.
Description PT Genie has developed a patented, interactive and avatar-based physical therapy training platform. A digital health platform modernizing physical therapy, PT Genie can be accessed through a mobile app or a tablet to provide an immediate connection between healthcare providers and patients. PT Genie has been designed meticulously to improve the experience of all the stakeholders—patients, healthcare providers, and insurers—and create “an entire area of data to bring value.” PT Genie equips patients with comfortable, three-dimensional, stick-on sensors that are attached to their body while doing their PT protocol. The avatar guided therapy platform provides patients with the personal direction they need to perform the movements correctly and the sensors feed data to the system that allows the patient’s doctor to review progress and provide feedback in real-time
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