Esprit Venture Challenge: Stride Tech Medical
StrideTech has developed an attachment to walkers (mobility devices), called StrideTech Go, that provides real-time haptic feedback when incorrect walker use is detected, empowering aging adults to learn and maintain correct mobility device use. StrideTech Go detects walker use and activity through a combination of electronic components to sense, filter, provide visual and haptic feedback, and store data. The device attaches to a walker at its handles and can be installed in minutes with simple instruction. Patient data from the device is sent to healthcare professionals to help track and optimize patient rehabilitation progress. StrideTech provides peace of mind to loved ones, independence to the user, and a tool for physical therapists to not only track their patient’s progress but also increase the quality of care.
StrideTech is initially targeting Medicare reimbursed home health agencies. Home health agencies provide physical therapy and various other rehabilitation services to patients in their homes. Reimbursed through Medicare, home health agencies are subject to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), which is how they get reimbursed for therapy services. PDGM is a new reimbursement model introduced in 2020 which has opened the door for companies like StrideTech to provide remote health monitoring technologies and increase home health profits.
Under PDGM, home health agencies can claim remote health monitoring technology under operating expenses, improving the adoption of this technology. Along with this change, home health agencies are now being reimbursed based solely on patient outcomes and not by the number of therapy hours. This means, by improving patient outcomes across fewer therapy hours, the home health agency can increase profits. With StrideTech, home health agencies can improve their bottom line by reducing therapy hours needed for training and retraining patients on walkers while improving compliance with safe walker use. StrideTech is targeting home health agencies with a large number of locations. This will allow for fast expansion once StrideTech has been adopted and proven to increase profitability. Carrie Coumbs, one of StrideTech’s advisers, is an experienced VP for some of the largest home health organizations in the world. Her endorsement has opened doors to home health agencies such as Encompass Health, with over 200 locations nationwide. These conversations have been started and she is waiting to move the relationship forward until proper product scalability can be achieved.
The StrideTech team has already started product testing with small, single-location home health agencies such as Thrive! Therapy. These partnerships take less time to secure and allow for product testing and validation to occur while the product is not yet scalable and reliable enough to test with larger organizations.
StrideTech also has secured a partnership with Serenity App, a HIPAA compliant messaging platform for healthcare professionals. Serenity App already has established paying customers and can reduce the difficulties of HIPAA compliance for StrideTech. Research will also be conducted through a partnership with the University of Denver’s Human Dynamics laboratory. DU will assist in applying to and executing an SBIR grant application through the National Science Foundation (NSF), of which, StrideTech has already submitted a pitch and been invited to complete the next phase of the application process.
Until now there has been no way to actively detect and correct walker use in real-time. The large walker manufacturers today can bend metal and attach wheels, but lack the agile engineering capabilities to innovate using modern technology. This has left the walker design and functionality largely unchanged in the last fifty years. By integrating technology with walkers, StrideTech Go is not only innovative but changing an entire industry. In the last four months, a global pandemic has caused the senior care industry to realize the absolute necessity for remote health monitoring tools. StrideTech Go is this tool for nearly 6.5 million Americans who use walkers today.
About the Founders
Tim Visos-Ely, Chief Product Officer: Tim gained industry experience by designing walkers for one of the largest DME companies in the world. Through this experience he learned about the significant, unaddressed problems with walkers for seniors. With this knowledge and a personal motivation to solve this problem for his grandmother, he decided to create StrideTech.
Humsini Acharya, Chief Scientific Officer: Humsini has a background in neuromechanics and rehabilitation engineering research. There she saw many solutions for posture and gait problems with older adults that only tended to help in strict laboratory settings. Most solutions were unlikely to be implemented in the real world, let alone be commercially viable. Humsini now uses her research background to ensure that Stride Tech Go is founded on research, efficacy, and testing.
Andrew Plum, Chief Technology Officer: Andrew has a background in mechanical engineering with skills in hardware and embedded system design. Andrew uses his expertise in mechanical design, IoT embedded systems, and electrical engineering to advance the technology behind Stride Tech.