Jason Mayes, Google Web ML Lead, recently had a conversation with Ryan Eder, Founder and CEO of IncludeHealth. They discussed IncludeHealth’s digital MSK platform, the motivation for starting the work, and its role in delivering hybrid care. They also delved into how IncludeHealth contributes to the digital transformation of physical therapy by partnering with health systems, PT networks, and orthopedic practices in a way that maintains privacy and scalability. For a recap of this interview, view the article below and watch the full video on this page.

Introduction: Enhancing Accessibility in Healthcare

The medical industry has witnessed changes in recent years, with a shift towards making healthcare more accessible to all. A development in this area is the partnership between IncludeHealth and TensorFlow.js, which is aiding in the digitization of remote physical therapy.

The Journey of IncludeHealth

The idea for IncludeHealth took root when Ryan saw a man in a wheelchair having a hard time exercising. In 2018, the company introduced its first product, a digitized strength trainer designed for physical therapy clinics. However, the team at IncludeHealth realized they had room for further development by broadening their platform into computer vision, thereby delivering care directly to patients' homes on their own devices.

Utilizing Web Machine Learning and TensorFlow

With the assistance of web machine learning and TensorFlow, IncludeHealth developed a platform that delivers interactive exercises for physical therapy and provides immediate movement feedback using MoveNet, a quick and precise pose detection model. The platform is compatible with any device equipped with a front-facing camera and a browser, making it accessible to a diverse set of users. Clinicians can tailor plans for their patients, choosing from a large database of movements and modifying parameters to match individual needs. These plans are then sent to the patient via text or email, who can follow the recommended exercises and receive immediate feedback on their performance. Throughout this process, the platform gathers data on the patient's adherence and range of motion, which is sent back to the clinician for review and plan adjustments.

Providing a User-Friendly Patient Experience

The team at IncludeHealth is dedicated to creating a user-friendly experience for remote physical therapy that caters to patients of all ages, including those who may not be technologically adept. To make the experience as seamless as possible, the team carefully selected MoveNet, a browser-based model known for its real-time pose estimation capabilities. The decision to use MoveNet was driven by the need for a model that could run on any device - phone, tablet, or laptop - without requiring additional sensors, downloads, or passwords.

This choice of model aligns with IncludeHealth's aim of providing care anywhere, on any device. With MoveNet, patients receive an email or text notification containing their personalized physical therapy plan, as created by their physical therapist. Upon opening the plan on their device, they are presented with an overview of the upcoming exercises, accompanied by male or female animations, and the number of reps and sets they need to perform.

The user-friendly nature of the platform is further enhanced by a pre-session test run that optimizes the computer vision model based on device settings. This test ensures the best possible performance of the MoveNet model on the patient's device. Once the test is complete, patients are shown how the MoveNet model works, helping them understand the technology that powers their recovery process. This brief introduction not only educates patients but also instills confidence in the technology guiding their physical therapy sessions.

After this introduction, the focus smoothly transitions to the patient and their recovery journey. The intuitive interface of the platform, coupled with the power of MoveNet, provides an engaging patient experience, detailed reporting for therapists, and robust features for monitoring and adjusting treatment plans.

In making these technological choices, IncludeHealth underscores its commitment to patient-centric care, with a focus on accessibility and efficiency. The platform demonstrates that with the right technology, physical therapy can be made more accessible, empowering patients to engage in their recovery process regardless of their location or familiarity with technology.

Powerful Capabilities for Physical Therapists

Therapists can utilize the clinician portal to formulate personalized plans for their patients. They can select from a large database of exercises, which is refreshed with numerous new movements every month. Moreover, the platform offers functional tests and surveys, enabling therapists to gather comprehensive data on patient performance. In addition to exercise selection, therapists can also adjust parameters such as the range of motion targets and rep counts, customizing the program to each patient's unique needs. Once the plan is completed, it is dispatched to the patient, allowing them to commence their physical therapy journey from the comfort of their home.

Upon completion of their exercises, all patient data is collected and sent directly back to their physical therapist. This data is used to generate a report that breaks down the patient's performance across individual movements and surveys. Therapists also have the option to review videos of the sessions to assess patients' movements and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plans. The platform provides insights into patients' adherence to their home exercise plans, engagement levels, and progress across different range of motion parameters. This information enables therapists to make informed decisions about modifying care plans, ensuring patients receive the appropriate treatment for their recovery. IncludeHealth's remote physical therapy platform provides a user-friendly experience for patients of all ages and equips therapists with robust features for monitoring and adjusting treatment plans.

As remote physical therapy continues to grow and evolve, the platform is set to have a significant impact on the healthcare industry.

The Future of Remote Physical Therapy

IncludeHealth is in the early stages of digitizing remote physical therapy. The platform is already implemented across health systems, PT networks, and clinics throughout the country, and is also in use by the government, including the Air Force and the VA. The company's goal is to extend care to those who currently have difficulty accessing it. Overall, the partnership between IncludeHealth and TensorFlow.js is aiding in the development of more accessible and efficient remote physical therapy services, affecting the lives of patients globally.

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