Rekovo Reinventing Physical Therapy with Agile Art

Rehab sessions are leaving patients with their own little Jackson Pollocks dictated by their movements. Combining therapy, art and data, Rekovo is reinventing rehab through agile art.

rekovo3The technology is the brainchild of Biomechanist Lise Worthen-Chaudhari. She studied movement in many forms, earning a MFA in Dance at OSU and a MS in Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Now as the associate director of the Motion Analysis and Recovery Laboratory at OSU, Worthen-Chaudhar is melding her expertise to aid in recovery that is more efficient, and even fun.

Physical therapists strap a motion sensor to a patient’s arm, leg or other focus area and give them a task to complete like fill the screen. Patients watch in real time as their movements are translated into brightly colored dots on a monitor. But much more than dots, they are data points that reflect information like speed and percent active. The canvas is an output measure in and of itself.

We’re not replacing the therapist at all, we’re a supplement tool for the therapists to use,” says Alex Purtell who heads up growth and marketing for the company. 

The tool has a host of benefits for therapists, patients, and is even aligning positively with recent changes in healthcare billing.

On the patient side, Rekovo’s agile art breaks of up monotony of physical therapy. Patient focus turns from their own limited movements to an external source, which actually yields better movement.

Patients end up increasing their movement by roughly 20 percent during their session,” Purtell says. 

Refocusing also helps time pass more quickly. Patients who would otherwise have trouble standing or become frustrated by two minutes of monotonous motion bend and move in new ways, passing time without even realizing it.

More movement and happier clients, “Those two in combination equals better outcomes now,” Purtell says. 

Technology like Rekovo also allows patients to more clearly see and quantify their progress. Purtell says a patient suffering from a spinal cord injury watched his works of art grow from a small smattering in the middle of the canvas to a screen full of color as his range of motion increased.

The technology is also gaining traction at an interesting time in the healthcare world. Changes in medical billing are requiring bundled payments. Say an elderly patient falls and breaks a hip. That patient has a lump sum amount to cover everything from surgery, to hospital stay, to rehab.

Care providers now are forced to produce outcomes within that budget faster,” Purtell says. “We cut the rehab down by roughly 50 percent.” 

Rehab clinics are able to leverage the technology as a competitive advantage and a differentiator.

Such facilities are one of a number of healthcare institutions Rekovo has determined to be their target customer over the last year. Purtell says that much of 2015 was spent in beta testing to determine Rekovo’s place in the market.

Rekovo targets assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics and home health providers. These facilities see the type of end-users that best benefit from the technology – the elderly and those with neurological disorders. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the senior population. Individuals facing neurological disorders, Parkinson’s, balance issues or recovering from strokes or braining injuries are also ideal clients for the technology.

Another issue that Rekovo’s year of scoping out the market uncovered was that some facilities lack the equipment to take advantage of the technology. Although a software-based system that works on any computer, customers didn’t have an extra laptop or TV to dedicate, so Rekovo now bundles everything needed – Chromebook, TV, TV stand, motion censor – the facility just needs wifi.

Rekovo’s customer base is centralized largely in the Columbus area. Purtell says they will continue to expand locally then set their sights on a national audience.

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Rekovo’s website shows examples of patient artwork and explains their conditions and focus recovery areas.