Another exciting announcement from Health 2.0 is a partnership between Sensoria and Genesis Rehab Services (GRS) to develop smart aging solutions under the name, “Sensoria Health powered by Genesis Rehab Services.” Sensoria is already known as a leading developer of smart footwear and clothing products based on the Sensoria Core microelectronics and cloud system. Sensoria’s expertise in using “internet of me” wearables for health and fitness will now be redirected towards addressing specific challenges older individuals at Sensoria Health. GRS is a holding company representing one of the nation’s largest post-acute care providers through a combination of skilled nursing centers and senior living communities as well as rehabilitation therapy services. Within the partnership, GRS will provides clinical experience and validation to the new direction for Sensoria’s technologies. On the new partnership, Davide Vigano, CEO and Co-Founder of Sensoria, commented that, “We are thrilled to partner with Genesis Rehab Services, a leader in this industry, to provide the new company guidance and clinical validation to our new healthcare focused solutions.”
The initial challenges Sensoria Health will tackle are fall detection, prevention, and rehabilitation services. Falls represent the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older patients and represent a combined economic and personal cost of an estimated thirty-four billion dollars annually in the United States. Over 30% of individuals over 65 fall each year and often end up being hospitalized due to broken hips or head injuries.
Sensoria sensors are both standalone products and part of Sensoria’s Smart Socks and Smart Shoes. These intelligent wearables track pressure as the wearer walks. By identifying variations in this pressure, they can detect pressure patterns that can or have lead to a fall. The goal is to use this insight to allow caregivers and clinicians to intervene, in real-time, before a fall happens or reach out and take action if one is detected. As part of rehabilitation programs administered at rehabilitation centers or at home, this technology can similarly be used to capture more data throughout the rehabilitation process to identify successful progress while course correcting incorrect gait and movement behaviors as needed.
Medgadget had a chance to catch up following the announcement to hear more about the upcoming work at Sensoria Health Powered by Genesis Rehab Services from both Sharlene Sternberg, Marketing Manager for Sensoria, and Davide Vigano.
Michael Batista, Medgadget: Where did the idea for this joint venture between Sensoria and Genesis Rehab Services come from?
Sensoria: The conversation originally started when Sensoria announced its smart socks at CES a few years ago. Our smart socks have been used by distance runners so far but they can also enable monitoring of activity, gait and balance, and compliance with rehab exercises for a patient at home or in an assisted living facility and can be remotely reviewed and assessed by clinicians. The goal of this partnership is to accelerate adoption of artificial intelligence-driven predictive algorithms connected to smart clothing and body sensors to address a set of prioritized aging population healthcare scenarios within assisted and skilled nursing facilities as well as at home. The result is the ability to improve quality of care and optimize a business model for new, value-based accountable care organizations (ACOs) and the “at-risk” Medicare reimbursement structure.
Medgadget: With Sensoria already having developed sensors and sensor-embedded clothing for fitness, how well does this background and the current technology translate to solutions for the aging population who deal with different challenges than athletes?
Sensoria: Healthcare is a natural extension for Sensoria. We recognized the need for smart garments and footwear wearables as telehealth solutions that are geared toward the growing elderly population. Sensoria has the ability to customize our smart garments and technology platform for multiple clinical use cases especially in terms of the aging population. We know there are different challenges within this population versus the everyday athlete which is why we are joining forces with Genesis Rehab Services (GRS) to create Sensoria Health.
Thanks to the clinical knowledge at GRS, we can start to build a new smart aging digital innovation engine to serve the needs of this large yet underserved patient population. GRS is the largest post-acute care provider in the world. They are a publicly traded company that generates over five billion in revenues, owns or serves over 2,200 assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, employ 89,000 people including 30,000 therapists, and touch a population of over 800,000 patients each year. They are now also investing in international market opportunities like China.
Medgadget: How will the embedded technology work in practice to help individuals with fall detection, prevention, and rehabilitation?
Sensoria: At the present time, we have smart upper garments with heart rate monitoring capabilities as well as smart socks and smart shoes which have pressure sensors embedded into the plantar area of the foot. Post-surgery or stroke rehabilitation compliance is critical to a fast recovery and also to prevent falls in aging patients. Wh
ereas an accelerometer alone may yield false positives when a device is forgotten or dropped by the patient, the combination of accelerometer data with plantar textile pressure readings will reduce false positives and negatives, yield more reliable fall detection, and reduce the costs of unnecessary care escalation or ambulance dispatch. In terms of prevention, we will endeavor to reduce the burden of falls through data collection, predictive analytics, and targeted early alerts to encourage a change in behavior, such as use of a cane or walker, or care escalation, such as encouraging engagement with a physical therapist.
Medgadget: How are caregivers engaged to support patients when issues or alerts arise?
Sensoria: We envision a clinician dashboard whereby patient activity can be monitored and the caregiver can receive an alert either within the home or skilled nursing facility. Think of it as a stoplight scenario where you have three color options: red, yellow and green. Patients who are “green” are those that are compliant and are not at risk of injury. Patients who are “yellow” are those that may have fallen outside of their recommended parameters and should be watched to ensure that they become compliant once again to avoid injury or relapse. Patients who are “red” are those in need of prioritized attention and should receive that from their caregivers as they are most likely to fall and become injured or have delays with their rehabilitation which could lead to re-admittance into a hospital or require additional surgeries. As a caregiver, your time and efficiency in treating patients is absolutely critical. If you could have line of sight into where you should focus your attention and in what order, you increase your value exponentially.
Medgadget: What has historically been done to help older individuals with fall detection, prevention, and rehabilitation? How does this new offering improve upon these traditional approaches and are there any other technologies on the market like what Sensoria Health is developing?
Sensoria: This is a very large yet, underserved population. Most of the current systems are not sufficiently utilized or are unable to discriminate between a real fall incident and an event when a person is lying or sitting down abruptly. Generally, all monitoring algorithms and approaches for fall detection and prevention relying on only one data point (i.e. movement-sensor, accelerometer, etc.) have their own limitations and do not ensure 100% reliability. What we do know is that the current wearables are unable to accurately measure activity of the elderly such as gait impairments, patients recovering from surgery, or neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis. Slow cadence, short stride length, and walkers make wrist worn wearable devices ill equipped for these challenging scenarios. The Mayo Clinic recently published a study where they attempted to traditionally position a Fitbit device at the wrist of 149 patients recovering from cardiac surgery with no resulting reliable or meaningful data. However, when they placed the unit around the cuff of a sock it could accurately monitor activity and also eventually lead to predicting shorter surgical recovery time. Sensoria’s technology platform, Sensoria Core, is a much more powerful, enhanced approach with a 9-axis inertial measuring unit (IMU) as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, coupled with embedded pressure sensors at the foot and artificial intelligence software. To my knowledge, there are no other technologies on the market today similar to what Sensoria Health will be developing.
Link: Sensoria Health…