Imagine a bomb with a countdown clock on top of it. The bomb is ticking but at this moment nobody knows about its existence. The bomb explodes.
Soon everybody will know it was a bomb. Some will find out sooner, but some will find out later from the news.
That bomb is the aging population problem and there is one ticking in every country.
In 2050, more than 1 in 5 people will be 60 years or older (1) as well as the incidence of obesity and musculoskeletal problems.
This demographic gap will make the need for health care resources to increase, while a shortage of health care professionals is projected, for both orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists.
There will be too much disease to treat if we only rely on humans, but we are lucky to have technology on our side.
The telerehabilitation tools were ready, the plan was missing
Digitalization in healthcare grew at a fast pace in almost every country of the world during the last 3 years but in Europe only became “official” in 2019, with the German Government that passed the new digitalization bill in healthcare called the Digital Supply Act (DVG) (2).
The new set of laws is preparing Germany for what is going to come, proving that the old healthcare systems are not ready to address the aging population problem.
Germany is the second-largest healthcare market in the world with a 374 bn Euro annual bill. In a study published by German Managed Care Association (BMC) there is a potential of 34 billion Euros in savings when healthcare providers, primarily doctors, hospitals and insurance companies will fully embrace the 26 types of digital solutions in different medical areas.
US, Canada and Australia inspired Germany to take action and become the European leader in digital health adoption.
Physical therapy in the digital era
The physical therapy industry hasn’t seen a disruptive innovation so far. There were lots of innovations that helped patients get a faster and easier recovery, but not a convenient one. In every physical therapy gym, you can find a shockwave device, CPM device, and so many other costly technologies for almost every problem you can imagine. But there is one thing that still hasn’t changed.
If you need physical therapy after surgery or for a chronic condition, you still need to travel and be physically present in the clinic.
And all the business models of both the hospitals and the outpatient providers are structured around this rule.
Why? Because technology needed the time to deliver the solutions to the problems and all the problems were found in the clinic.
But that is not the whole truth. There are a ton of problems at home. More than the clinics can handle.
The typical physiotherapy clinic
After investing so much money and effort in the clinical space, equipment, and staff, physical therapy clinics are forced to stick to the plan and do what they can to survive. The profitability is very hard to achieve and scalability is even harder, close to impossible.
This is why there are only a few physical therapy chains in the whole world.
Each clinic has an array of struggles, but three dependencies that are common: clinical time, clinical space and staff.
In 2020 there are only a few companies that have solutions to address all of these clinical dependencies.
5 years ago our team introduced re.flex to physical therapists and the questions were gravitating around the product and its efficiency.
Little by little things evolved and now questions are targeted for the business models.
There is no doubt that digital rehabilitation is and will be for many years to come the way to go. The only question is who will succeed?
Small and medium clinics can’t afford to commit the time and don’t have the luxury of making the sacrifices necessary in order to implement a new and scalable business model.
Large clinics need a more mature and researched product.
Stakeholders of the new digital physiotherapy
Besides clinics and hospitals, there are other stakeholders that have an interest in physical therapy. Orthosis manufacturers have shown equal interest as implant manufacturers. Their use cases are different and needs are different.
The orthosis manufacturers need digital physiotherapy for providing sustainable growth after reaching the peak in terms of quality in their products. Going digital is the next logical step.
Implant manufacturers are striving to reach a peak in terms of quality and strive for more data and an efficient way to gather and analyze the data.
re.flex numbers in 2019
400 patients used re.flex in their recovery
35 pilots or pre-pilots started with clinics and hospitals
2 strategic partners signed
1 insurance pre-pilot with an insurance company
Do you want to know more about re.flex and the available opportunities? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org