Physical therapy at home doesn't need to be boring anymore. A new digital therapy service for patients with musculoskeletal conditions turns it into an immersive experience.
The way back after an accident or physical problem often only requires years of physiotherapy sessions. Healing success also depends largely on exercises at home. But, according to surveys by the European Commission, patients fail up to 80 per cent of the time when they are asked to perform physiotherapy exercises independently at home because of a lack of guidance and motivation.
Artificial intelligence for better motivation
ETH spin-off Akina is on a mission to empower patients during self-care and address the rapidly growing cost of chronic diseases. Their AI-based software seamlessly connects therapy with modern entertainment concepts.
Their founders, Florian Haufe and Michele Xiloyannis, learnt about the paramount importance of motivation and real-time feedback during independent rehabilitation while doing research and decided to start their own start-up in 2021. With Akina, they are now taking a novel approach to healthcare gamification by leveraging the proven fascination of video games and video series to maximise patient consistency with essential self-care. Their first product, Akina Care, is a gamified virtual physiotherapy solution for independent therapy at home.
Fast feedback from therapists
Akina Care analyses patients' movements in real time via webcam and provides clinical feedback on the exercises performed. Therapists also have access to the data via a cloud platform. Thanks to AI, they can monitor the progress and movement quality of their patients during therapy at home using anonymised video data. It only takes a few minutes to reliably monitor hours of independent therapy through intelligent data processing.
The cloud platform allows the software to be seamlessly integrated into existing treatment protocols, significantly reducing costs. At the same time, Akina Care provides an interface to numerous virtual entertainment services and creates an immediate incentive for independent therapy through gamification.
Market launch in 2023
According to a recent press release, the novel self-care rehabilitation method has already been successfully validated in various clinical pilot sessions and on over 8,000 movements. Akina is also in talks with selected health insurance companies to integrate the offer into a holistic treatment offer. Market entry is planned for the second half of 2023. To finalise the product, Akina raised a total of CHF 1.6 million in a pre-seed round.