Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Breg wearable improves orthopaedic recovery

Steve Rogerson
March 13, 2017

California-based Breg has introduced a wearable to facilitate and improve patients' at-home recovery following orthopaedic surgery.
Called Flex, it is said to make at-home physical therapy (PT) more convenient and engaging for patients by promoting protocol adherence, resulting in the potential to improve outcomes, reduce costs and provide a better patient experience.
"Our beta programme revealed that Breg Flex has the potential to improve overall patient outcomes," said Daniel Segina, orthopaedic surgeon at Health First Medical Group in Florida. “It found that Breg Flex patients achieved their optimal outcome using 25 per cent less visits than non-Breg Flex patients in the same diagnosis group. Breg Flex patients scored 20 per cent higher on their functional improvement scores than non-Breg Flex patients, on average. Additionally, Breg Flex patients were 75 per cent compliant with their therapy protocols (versus an average of 30 per cent for non-Breg Flex patients), and reported a satisfaction level of 90 per cent, on average."
Flex uses a chargeable Bluetooth wireless sensor, worn by patients to track progress with prescribed PT exercises, and an easy-to-navigate mobile app, which guides patients through PT exercises with video demonstrations. The sensor and mobile app work together to capture range-of-motion tracking, vital to successful recovery outcomes, and share real-time information about patients' at-home PT progress with their healthcare providers.
This allows clinicians to course correct treatment protocols as needed. Unlike at-home PT programmes that are tethered to a console, Flex wireless sensors and mobile apps mean patients have true mobility, and can access therapy anytime, anywhere.
Research shows that less than 35 per cent of patients are adherent to their at-home PT regimen following surgery, though it remains a crucial element of a successful recovery. At the same time, many providers are now being held accountable for all costs related to hip and knee replacements in a value-based care plan, such as comprehensive care for joint replacement, where providers are penalised if patients have complications or require lengthy rehabilitation.
This confluence of factors led to the development of Flex, making the recovery process more fun and convenient for patients, while giving providers the ability to oversee patients' rehabilitation progress in real time.
Key features include:

  • Bluetooth motion sensor: monitors patient range-of-motion flexion and extension, and compliance;
  • Wireless patient connectivity: patients can take PT with them anywhere they go: they are not restricted by a tethered system;
  • Simple patient dashboard: providers can quickly see how patients are progressing with their therapy;
  • Gamified experience: motivational experience encourages patients to reach their goals;
  • Mobile patient monitoring: providers have convenient access into each patients' results from a smartphone;
  • Objective data capture: enables providers to manage therapy costs proactively and post-acute outcomes;
  • Secure in-app messaging: patients and providers can send text messages, videos or photos; request a call and/or an appointment with a provider; and make Facetime or Skype calls if enabled;
  • Custom protocols: provides standardised care for each diagnosis group, with the flexibility for providers to modify as needed; and
  • Interactive patient app: guides patients through therapy and provides a virtual therapist to mirror their movements.
"From our bracing solutions, to our orthopaedic practice management tools, Breg's ultimate mission has always been to lower the cost and improve care quality over the entire orthopaedic episode," said Brad Lee, president and CEO of Breg. "That's why we're so pleased to introduce Breg Flex to the market. Backed by a heritage steeped in orthopaedics and combined with the latest technological innovation, Breg Flex is a remarkably easy solution that brings meaning to movement."