FIGUR8 and Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division Partner to Improve Musculoskeletal Health in the Workplace

Fostering Ergonomic Excellence: FIGUR8 and Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division Collaborate to Enhance Workplace Musculoskeletal Wellness

Josh Williams
Mar 1, 20222 min read
FIGUR8 and Parker Hannifin Quick Coupling Division Partner to Improve Musculoskeletal Health in the Workplace

FIGUR8 and the Quick Coupling Division of Parker Hannifin Corporation today announced a partnership for the deployment of the MIT spin-off’s breakthrough musculoskeletal health technology system in select Parker manufacturing facilities. Parker, a Fortune 250 global leader in motion and control technologies, provides precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of industrial and aerospace markets.

With over 54,000 team members and locations in 45 countries and over 315 manufacturing sites globally, one of Parker’s primary goals is to continuously improve safety performance and achieve zero injuries across the organization. The partnership brings the next generation of accessible, objective musculoskeletal health assessment information to the workplace.

“More than 1.7 billion people suffer from musculoskeletal conditions, and work-related musculoskeletal problems are among the most prevalent of occupational disorders worldwide,” said Nan-Wei Gong, co-founder and CEO of FIGUR8. “Parker’s Quick Coupling Division is tackling this challenge head on by implementing solutions for the intervention and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Parker brings a proactive approach to the management of employee safety, health and risk that reflects the company’s deep commitment to responsible operations.”

The partnership builds on the two companies’ continued innovations in engineering solutions that advance musculoskeletal health. Parker’s electroactive polymer (EAP) sensors and FlexSense sensing technology are helping revolutionize the measurement of human body movement.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are deeply engaged in the continuous identification and implementation of solutions that create a safety-first workplace for team members,” said Jason Manning, Manager of Environmental, Health & Safety, Parker Quick Coupling Division. “With FIGUR8’s breakthrough musculoskeletal technology, we recognized an opportunity to further add to our range of safety-first initiatives — from equipment safety to employee health — to provide a safe and engaging work environment.”

FIGUR8’s technology is in deployments across major health systems, employers and government organizations nationwide to help reduce and prevent the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. With the lack of codified, accurate and objective data for musculoskeletal conditions being one of the biggest industry challenges to date, FIGUR8’s ability to enable precision analytics has made its technology an indispensable tool (before MRI) to support the diagnostic and treatment decisions regarding musculoskeletal conditions.

FIGUR8’s advanced MSK assessment solution — developed over years of R&D by MIT engineers in collaboration with Mass General Brigham clinicians — enables a full musculoskeletal and orthopedic assessment to be conducted in minutes by anyone, anywhere, regardless of technical or clinical expertise. In less than 15 minutes, the FIGUR8 solution can deliver data on key musculoskeletal biomarkers — including range of motion, movement quality, strength and functional mobility — in order to create an individualized and precise plan of care.

About FIGUR8

FIGUR8 is creating the most advanced wearable musculoskeletal (MSK) technology on the market. Its powerful, lightweight system combines clinically smart biosensors, intuitive software and AI to improve musculoskeletal health at every point of care — from injury through full recovery. FIGUR8 has developed the first musculoskeletal diagnostics decision support system of its kind that can accurately pinpoint the source and severity of an injury while showing real-time recovery visibility. Powering FIGUR8’s solution is breakthrough technology developed over years by MIT engineers in collaboration with Mass General Brigham clinicians. For more info, visit www.figur8tech.com.

FIGUR8

Related posts

  • [object Object]

    Unveiling the Top 3 Insights from 2024 APTA CSM

    The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) held in Boston last week served as a beacon of innovation and collaboration in the field of physical therapy. As the team at FIGUR8, a leader in musculoskeletal health technology, reflected on the event, three key takeaways emerged, shedding light on the future of the profession and the transformative potential of modern technology.

    1. Economic Impact of Physical Therapy

      Physical therapists provide undisputed value to individuals in their health journey and toward their quality of life, delivering cost-effective services within the U.S. healthcare system. Collectively, healthier individuals result in a healthier society, which delivers value to individuals, communities, and countries.

      This theme was evident throughout the 2024 APTA CSM conference. Whether it was the signage demonstrating the economic impact for 8 key conditions throughout the entrance to the convention center, sessions focused on the evidence and benefit of physical therapy, or a commitment for attendees to pledge the value of physical therapy demonstrated through the American Physical Therapy Association work.

      According to “The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States” published by the American Physical Therapy Association, Physical therapy was found to have a net economic benefit over the alternative treatment for each of the conditions ranging from surgeries, long recoveries, and the risks of overuse of prescribed opioids and other medications. The results in this report demonstrate that, where medically appropriate, more widespread use of the selected physical therapist services would deliver both

      https://images.prismic.io/figur8tech/bd231025-c1fd-4f21-b020-c1e42da9d92f_Economic+Impact+of+Physical+Therapy.png?auto=compress
    2. Embracing Technological Advancements

      Another key takeaway from 2024 APTA CSM was the growing emphasis on embracing technological advancements in physical therapy. From virtual reality therapy to wearable sensors, attendees explored a myriad of cutting-edge technologies poised to reshape the landscape of rehabilitation.

      Friday night's “Technopalooza” event was the pinnacle of innovation in physical therapy, where trailblazers in the space shared their technology and best practices in partnership. The bioMotion Assessment Platform, or bMAP, available to FIGUR8 partners stood out as a game-changer in musculoskeletal assessment.

      “We are looking for ways to capture more objective data and the way that you are going about it, removing a lot of the barriers to adoption, is really smart.” - Physical Therapist, APTA CSM Attendee

      By harnessing advanced biomechanics data and machine learning algorithms, FIGUR8 is at the forefront of leveraging technology to enhance patient care and improve outcomes.

    3. Fostering Collaboration and Integration

      APTA CSM underscored the importance of fostering collaboration and integration within the physical therapy community.

      Attendees exchanged insights, best practices, and innovative ideas, fostering a spirit of collaboration aimed at advancing the profession. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, partnerships between technology providers like FIGUR8 and physical therapy professionals will play a crucial role in improving patient care.


    APTA CSM 2024 offered valuable insights and opportunities for reflection on the future of physical therapy. FIGUR8 emerged from the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to advancing musculoskeletal health through data-driven precision, technological innovation, and collaborative partnerships. As we look ahead, we remain dedicated to empowering clinicians with the tools and insights they need to deliver exceptional care and transform lives.

    If you and your team of clinicians are interested in learning more about becoming FIGUR8 enabled reach out to info@FIGUR8tech.com or visit our website, FIGUR8tech.com

    Feb 15, 20244 min read
  • [object Object]

    Privacy and security by design: Protected health information

    Taking care of your health is an important activity at the hospital but so is taking care of your protected health information (PHI). Imagine this situation:

    It’s late at night and you’ve just been in a car accident. The paramedics arrive on scene and whisk you away to the closest hospital, where a large medical team asks many questions about your medical history and what happened during the accident.

    After this, you are rushed to a different area of the hospital where still more people ask you more questions, hand you complex forms to fill out that request information about your health insurance and what medications you take. They also take a sample of your blood and perform imaging studies (e.g. x-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.) to rule out any serious injuries from the accident.

    Protected health information (PHI)

    Immediately after a car accident the care of your injuries may be more important, and top of mind, than the care of your health information so how can you trust that a health entity, like a hospital, will protect this very sensitive information?

    Legislation, like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), outline the legal responsibilities that provider organizations need to undertake to safeguard your protected health information but how is a patient to know that a hospital or clinic is meeting all of the requirements?

    The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed by healthcare and IT professionals to help health care organizations and it provides a framework for managing the security requirements inherent in HIPAA and other federal and state legislation related to PHI. It incorporates a risk-based approach to protecting PHI and includes specific criteria that assess the protection of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information across an organization’s digital health infrastructure.

    FIGUR8 we protect what matters most to you and this includes safeguarding your PHI and we are proud to say that we have achieved HITRUST certification and that our security controls have been benchmarked against industry standards, best practices and are compliant with the requirements of HIPAA. 

    Privacy breaches and cyber threats are becoming more common and it is important to our team that our provider partners, the patients they treat, and the payers they serve, trust and have confidence that any protected health information stored in FIGUR8’s digital systems will not be inadvertently shared or disclosed.

    Connect with us at provider.success@figur8tech.com to learn more about how we protect PHI and are creating the new data standard for MSK health.

    Jun 27, 20222 min read
  • [object Object]

    Surface Mechanomyography (sMMG) Sensor Technology Explained

    At FIGUR8 we built a better and more cost-effective way to measure muscle function and MSK health and it starts with a simple and elegant solution called surface mechanomyography (sMMG) that allows anyone to capture and analyze muscle information easily.

    Musculoskeletal (MSK) health is complex. All the pieces of a person’s MSK system, from ligaments and tendons to nerves, bones and joints, work in concert to maintain the flexibility, stability and strength needed for a healthy, functioning body. If one of these components is not working like it should it can lead to an injury. 

    As an example, let’s look at a muscle. If a muscle has too much or too little tension in it, or doesn’t contract at the right time or with enough force, it will impact on all of the other tissues and structures in the body. That’s why it is important both before and after an injury to evaluate the strength and endurance of muscles. The problem with traditional assessments of muscle function is that they are either overly subjective and / or overly simplistic. When a clinician asks you to hold your arm in one position and then pushes against it to come up with a score from 0-5 based on how you did, there is subjective bias in that measurement.

    Electromyography (EMG) can provide meaningful data, but is not used often because they are expensive, require a high level of technical expertise, and the procedure takes a long time to prepare the skin, ensure good contact with the electrode and process the results.

    So what is a surface mechanomyography (sMMG) sensor?

    Surface mechanomyography (sMMG) sensors quantify human movement in a unique and novel way. When sMMG sensors are applied across the largest portion of a muscle they can record physical change in the muscles down to the 1/10 of a millimeter (as thin as a single strand of hair) as muscle activation occurs, which allows for extrapolation of meaningful clinical feedback that results from the change in muscle shape during contraction. 

    The FIGUR8 movement platform uses proprietary sMMG sensor technology (Whitepaper – Figur8 (figur8tech.com)) as a cornerstone in the first musculoskeletal system of its kind that serves as a solution to clinicians and patients looking to accurately pinpoint the source of injury with access to real-time, quantifiable progress of a patient’s MSK health from the moment of injury to the moment of recovery.

    The sensors are placed on the skin across the surface of a muscle in order to quantify muscle output, allowing clinicians to collect precise measurements about muscle performance and make data-driven decisions around clinical care, while providing important feedback to the individual patient. 

    This proprietary sensor technology is taking the guesswork out of MSK care and building a new standard for MSK health. It allows assessments to be conducted quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. 

    How does this help the individual?

    Imagine you pulled a muscle at work and a week later you still have back pain. The kind that is so pervasive you can’t concentrate for more than a few minutes without needing to stand up, sigh and pace the room hoping it’ll go away.

    You head to the doctor assigned to you through your company’s workers compensation insurance and get a physical therapy prescription for low back pain. After a quick exam, they hand you a pre-printed paper that reads 8-12 weeks, 3 times a week you will be back in the office. Moments later you are out the door with a piece of paper in your hands.

    You do the exercises and you follow the plan but the uncertainty about your recovery remains because the pain, though better, persists and you are also not able to see the changes in your condition. Suddenly, 8 to 12 weeks pass and although you are back at work, you don’t know if you have fully recovered because the pain is still there.

    Now erase that picture and instead imagine a different approach to care. One that pinpoints measurable differences in your muscles that are causing the injury. 

    In your first exam at the physical therapy office, your therapist uncovers your first TrueRecovery score and sees a large discrepancy in the strength of your left hamstring versus the right. A personalized plan is developed, which determines that a focus on strength of your left hamstring will not only alleviate symptoms but over time prevent injuries like this from occurring again.

    As you do your therapy you can see your measurements over time and track the progress of your TrueRecovery score, following exactly how your muscles are responding to therapy and watching as your strength improves and balance is restored to your musculoskeletal system.

    Why does sMMG technology matter?

    When you don’t have a biomarker for certain metrics you don’t know if you’re improving or not. Receiving this information throughout your recovery drives patient adherence and gives clinicians meaningful insight into recovery. 

    Using sMMG technology establishes a new, data-driven standard of care and evaluation for MSK health. At FIGUR8, we are accelerating the adoption of objective, digital MSK evaluations in health systems everywhere. Our wearable platform functions as a biomechanics toolkit in a box and FIGUR8 has packed powerful technology, previously available only to elite athletes and researchers, into a lightweight system that combines clinically smart biosensors, intuitive software and AI to analyze and advance MSK health.

    The future is now.

    Aug 25, 20219 min read
  • [object Object]

    Biomotion Sciences: Teaming Up to Analyze and Understand Human Movement

    What are Biomotion Sciences, you might ask? It’s a multidisciplinary approach to capturing, analyzing and understanding human movement and translating that understanding into positive performance, clinical, and economic outcomes. Because once you understand, then you can personalize and improve.

    “Movement is the only way you have of affecting the world around you” This quote comes from Daniel Wolpert, a world leader in the computational study of sensorimotor control and learning, which seeks to understand how humans process information received by the nervous system and brain during action and how we generate and refine actions based on that information.

    The quote also accurately reflects how we view the work we do at FIGUR8, both as a company, moving the field of musculoskeletal (MSK) health forward, and also at a more basic, scientific level, where a deep understanding of movement and it’s inputs, for example joint range of motion and muscle function, are required to positively impact the world for those suffering the debilitating effects of a musculoskeletal injury.

    It’s at this scientific level that FIGUR8 differentiates itself in the field of Biomotion Sciences. That’s what we are about at FIGUR8, improving the system for all parties – patients, providers and payers; and it builds on the multidisciplinary approach of Biomotion Sciences.

    For FIGUR8, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With world-class engineering, medical, product and business talent, we approach the challenge of understanding human movement with authenticity and curiosity, and it starts in our lab. Yes, we have a Biomotion Sciences Lab, which places FIGUR8 in the same conversations as leading-edge academic institutions with their own labs.

    FIGUR8’s program design begins with the identification of biomarkers that would be useful to measure and understand to improve MSK health, followed by the development of activity protocols that can capture accurate and objective information on the intended biomarkers. This process of hypothesis generation and experimentation is grounded in best practices and scientific rigor and begins with questions like what movements and measurements are important to providers? What data does a payer need to see to have more confidence in the proposed plan to improve MSK health? What does a patient need to see to understand their recovery journey and stay engaged in their rehabilitation program rather than self-discharging?

    And once these questions have been answered, it’s time to start testing. You can read more about the science behind our solution and how FIGUR8 validates our measures against legacy gold standard technology and ensures reliability from day-to-day and between different providers by accessing our White Papers at https://figur8tech.com/whitepaper/.

    Check back on the FIGUR8 blog in the future for a personal story about how FIGUR8’s solution helped to improve MSK health after a low back injury.

    Mar 29, 20223 min read
  • [object Object]

    Musculoskeletal injury – The (not-so) straight line of recovery and rehabilitation

    Taken from Aeromith’s seminal 90s album “Get a Grip”, this same quote could be applied to the rehabilitation journey of many individuals recovering from a musculoskeletal injury. In my past life as a physical therapist, I had countless patients arrive at their appointments and share that today “[they] just feel weaker” or “[their insert area of the body here] just feels less stable” and the tools that I had at my disposal ranged from asking questions and getting a subjective response as to why they felt this way, or just as rudimentary, using manual muscle tests to determine, if in fact, there was a change in their strength. Looking at the table below, which shows the scoring rubric for manual muscle tests, you’ll understand my challenge.


    One of FIGUR8’s clinical partners, Dan McGovern, recently shared that a patient of his experienced a setback in their rehabilitation. What was different this time was that Dan was able to use the FIGUR8 platform to bring data into the conversation and support the subjective complaints of increased pain and weakness that his patient shared with him.

    FIGUR8’s solution is the data standard for musculoskeletal health and provides insights never before available at the point-of-care to increase trust and confidence in decisions. Rather than utilizing blunt measures of strength like manual muscle testing, Dan was able to capture dynamic muscle health data during functional activities to understand his patient’s current situation and make the necessary changes to their treatment plan to get them back on track.


    Looking at the results above, which capture knee flexion and symmetry of the quadriceps muscle during a one-legged squat, clearly shows that while knee flexion on the left (light green line) has improved over time, knee flexion on the right (dark green line) has regressed from the initial assessment. Similarly, we see a widening gap in the symmetry of the left and right quadriceps muscles.


    Diving deeper into the FIGUR8 data reveals even more of the challenge. The visual on the left above shows a smooth and coordinated movement with excellent control as the patient completes 5 repetitions of the movement, represented by each “hump” on the colored line, Also the muscle is able to sustain this control and does not demonstrate any fatigue throughout 3 trials of the task, represented by the different coloured lines.

    Contrast this with the visual on the right, where within each trial there are challenges with muscle strength and control, evident in the inconsistent shape of each “hump” as well as the “spiky” nature of the line, showing fasciculation or flickers of the muscle as it works to maintain its contractile strength. Similarly, there is inconsistency between each trial as the muscle fatigues and can no longer sustain the tension necessary to complete the task.

    Progress during rehabilitation isn’t always a straight line, and that’s ok. What can be frustrating is not understanding why. FIGUR8 removes that uncertainty and gives patients and providers transparency into the rehabilitation process with data and insights that can guide and increase confidence in treatment decision making

    If you would like to learn more about how data-driven decision making can improve the care that you deliver to your patients, reach out to our team at info@figur8tech.com and request a demo..

    Feb 17, 20224 min read
  • [object Object]

    3 Reasons Precision MSK Management Increases Your Bottom Line

    Care for those with musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries can be wildly complex and the cost that this complexity causes has been astronomical, with direct and indirect costs of MSK conditions approaching $1 trillion dollars annually in the United States. (1)

    With the advent of precision MSK management, the tide is turning. 

    If you are responsible for the health and well-being of your employees, here are the 3 reasons precision MSK management improves your bottom line:

    1. Reduce the incidence of MSK injuries by up to 22%.

    Professional athletes undergo rigorous pre-season screening to determine baseline function and introduce targeted training programs so that they can perform at their best in-season, without the risk of injury. Studies have shown that preseason screening identifies MSK injury risks in 12-32% of high performance athletes. (2,3)

    FIGUR8 brings what was only available to professional athletes to your workforce through baseline MSK health screening that prevents injury by identifying those employees at risk and proactively addressing problem areas before they become MSK injuries.


    2. Return injured workers to their job safely and up to 33% faster.


    Deciding when an injured worker should return to their job is hard. FIGUR8 takes the guesswork out of these decisions by providing clinical data that inform return-to-work decision making and pinpoint the time that it is safe to return and reduce the likelihood of re-injury, which can be as high as 53.4%. (4)

    On average, injured workers can return to work nearly 2 weeks quicker when they use FIGUR8 sensor technology as a part of their recovery journey. This translates to an average savings of $2842 per MSK claim, assuming the average hourly wage for workers** in the United States (2021), due to the FIGUR8 sensor technology and artificial intelligence capability to tap into precision MSK management. 

    3. Deliver precision MSK management

    With traditional MSK care management, recovery is often assessed and guided via subjective complaints, like pain, or diagnostic imaging like an x-ray or MRI.  These imaging techniques, while useful in some instances, are not as informative when it comes to understanding functional progress and recovery, both as a patient and as a clinician. In fact, research shows that imaging for patients with acute low back pain is of limited value as it provides no benefits for function, pain, or disability, may lead to worse health outcomes, and exposes people to unnecessary radiation (for x-ray and CT). (5)

    The ability to visualize data from muscles in motion via sMMG technology gives clinicians a precise understanding of exactly where imbalances in the MSK system have led to an injury and the dynamic nature of the FIGUR8 system can pinpoint exactly where rehabilitation should focus in order to restore balance to the musculoskeletal system. 

    Imagine you are a physical therapist working with a patient through recovery after an ACL tear in their right knee. Traditionally, exercises would focus predominantly on the right leg muscles, including the quadriceps, to increase the strength of the surrounding area post-surgery and reinforce the surgically-repaired knee.

    Using FIGUR8 in your practice, with its ability to collect bilateral muscle data during dynamic, functional movements, can reveal that the hamstrings on the left side of the body are significantly weaker than the right, perhaps due to compensatory movements. This new, measurable insight into exactly how balanced the musculoskeletal system is allows physical therapists and their teams to deliver more effective treatment and manage care more efficiently.

    At FIGUR8 we believe that precision MSK health management is here. Clinicians and patients are finally able to leverage better data, to inform better decisions, and in turn deliver better outcomes all while lower medical spend.

    To learn more check out our website or contact our team to request a demo.

    References:

    1. United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS), 4th edition, 2020. Rosemont, IL. Available at http://www.boneandjointburden.org. Accessed on September 14, 2021
    2. Adami, PE.; Squeo, MR.; Quattrini, FM.; Di Paolo FM. (2018) Pre-participation health evaluation in adolescent athletes competing at Youth Olympic Games: Proposal for a tailored protocol. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 53(17).
    3. Bakken, A.; Target, S.; Bere, T.; Adamuz MC.; Tol, JL; Whitely R.; Wilson MG.; Witvrouw E.; Khan, KM.; Bahr, R. (2016). Health conditions detected in a comprehensive periodic health evaluation of 558 professional football players. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 50 (18): 1142-50.
    4. Ruseckaite, R and Collie, A. (2013) The incidence and impact of recurrent workplace injury and disease: a cohort study of WorkSafe Victoria, Australia compensation claims. British Medical Journal. 3(3).
    5. French, SD.; Green, ME; Bhatia, RS.; Peng, Y.; Hayden, JA.; Hartvigen, J.;Iveers, NM.; Grimshaw, JM.; Booth, CM.; Ruland, L.; Norman, KE. (2019) Imaging use for low back pain by Ontario primary care clinicians: protocol for mixed methods study – the Back ON study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 20:50.
    Sep 30, 20217 min read
  • [object Object]

    Musculoskeletal conditions – Replacing Variability And Subjectivity With Consistency And Data

    Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide. There are over 150 conditions that are encompassed within the “musculoskeletal” injury category. The most common of these is low back pain, which is the leading cause of disability in 160 countries 1 . Our healthcare system is experiencing a massive shift towards digital care that is personalized, data-driven and value-based. One aspect of musculoskeletal care that has been relatively stagnant for decades, is the in-office clinical examination of patients.

    So, what is going wrong?

    Outdated and inefficient methods of measuring recovery contribute to an already wasteful and inequitable healthcare system. Many patients who experience a musculoskeletal injury and pain are caught in a fee-for-service model that incentivizes overutilization of expensive diagnostic tests and surgical procedures, instead of conservative care.

    Dr. Michael Oberlander, Chief Medical Officer of FIGUR8 and founder of RecoveryOne, has seen the issues unfold through the lens of a patient and provider. As a renowned orthopedic sports medicine surgeon with over 30 years of clinical experience, he has also undergone 14 different orthopedic procedures himself as a result of downhill skiing injuries and a strong family history of osteoarthritis. One thing is clear to him: “The physical exam is incredibly variable between physicians in different specialties and even within the same specialty. There are large disparities in the quality and depth of the patient experience, from the initial evaluation to the tests performed, to the treatment recommended.”

    The measurement of musculoskeletal performance and recovery has historically been limited to visual and hands-on assessments that provide limited objective data. Quantifying soft-tissue injuries has also been challenging for those that do not have the resources of elite athletes and well-funded researchers. The lack of standardization and reproducibility when evaluating orthopaedic injuries, leads to imprecise and unpredictable recovery plans. Even when tools like goniometers are used to increase the accuracy and recording of objective joint motion, the lack of advancement to the digital age is astounding. The goniometer has not seen meaningful changes since its inception in 1914. Additionally, its use for the measurement of trunk and pelvic motion, two cornerstones in evaluating recovery from back pain, is inconsistent and ineffective 2,3 . This has all changed with the multi-sensor technology developed by Figur8. It is now possible to accurately measure joint motion of the spine and extremities simultaneously and bring the resources and experiences of an elite athlete to the point of care in the provider’s office. Additionally, surface Mechanomyography (sMMG) sensors patented by Figur8 (Surface Mechanomyography Sensor Technology Explained – Figur8 (figur8tech.com))* are revolutionizing MSK diagnostics, claims Dr. Oberlander. As a team physician for professional and collegiate sports teams, he believes that this technology, housed in a self-contained system, the size and weight of a small laptop, represents the future of MSK care: “Being able to look at muscle function and range of motion in a functional, highly reproducible and dynamic way, is a game changer.”

    FIGUR8 CEO, Nan-Wei Gong, agrees, “We enable patients to know what’s going on exactly inside their body and to track real progress from the moment of injury through full recovery.”

    The wealth of data delivered from FIGUR8’s proprietary sensing technology combined with a consumer-friendly software experience enabled by AI-driven analytics, accurately pinpoints the source of MSK pathology. The novel technology can significantly reduce the cost of care, improve access, and empower patients to take control of their personal MSK health.

    Interested in finding out how risk bearing entities have tapped into the power of sMMG sensor technology via FIGUR8 to mitigate unnecessary healthcare spending and sped up recovery time?

    Connect with us and learn how we can help!

    References:

    Sep 11, 20215 min read
  • [object Object]

    Taking the guesswork out ACL reconstruction recovery

    The list of current professional athletes that have sustained an injury to their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and required an ACL reconstruction recovery program is substantial and includes the likes of Sabine Lisicki (tennis), Klay Thompson (basketball), Alex Morgan (soccer), Odell Beckham Jr (football), and Ronald Acuña Jr. (baseball – https://youtu.be/1Sr5pBw58Gs),

    The ACL, seen in the picture below, is a primary stabilizer of the knee and prevents the lower leg bone (i.e. tibia) from shifting forward, rotating or being bent to the outside relative to the upper leg bone (i.e. femur).



    The ACL is often injured during “cut-and-plant” movements that result in a sudden change in direction or speed with the foot firmly on the ground. Other common causes of ACL injury are landing from a jump, pivoting, twisting, and direct impact to the front of the tibia.1 When the ACL is severely injured the treatment recommended is predominantly surgical repair, and after ACL reconstruction, 61% to 89% of athletes successfully return to sports. This typically occurs at 8 to 18 months after reconstruction, depending on the level of play.2

    Traditional assessments, including range of motion testing and hand-held dynamometry to measure strength, only provide a static measurement, yet after ACL reconstruction, dynamic measures of movement quality and muscle activation are extremely important to understand during a functional movement. In the following case, the FIGUR8 platform was used to augment the physical therapy exam and provide additional functional objective data to the treating clinician. The Lower Body Assessment, which includes a bilateral squat and repeated unilateral partial squat, was incorporated into the post-op ACL rehabilitation program for an individual who underwent S/P R ACL reconstruction with quadriceps tendon autograft following a non-contact injury, who was 12 weeks post-surgery and had a 40% quadriceps strength deficit.

    The objective findings from the exam included:

    • During the bilateral squat there was good symmetry observed between the range of motion (ROM) of the hip and knee, as well as the muscle output of the quadriceps and hamstrings.
      https://images.prismic.io/figur8tech/ZiulIfPdc1huK3kw_ACL-3-1024x761.jpg?auto=format,compress
    • During the repeated partial unilateral squat there was significant asymmetry observed between the ROM of the hip and knee, as well as the muscle output of the quadriceps and hamstrings.
      https://images.prismic.io/figur8tech/ZiulHPPdc1huK3kv_ACL-4-768x749.jpg?auto=format,compress
    • In addition, the patient compensated for the marked right quadriceps muscle weakness by adopting a greater hip strategy, quantified in the range of motion data that was collected simultaneously and observed as increased right hip flexion and decreased right knee flexion during dynamic movement.
      https://images.prismic.io/figur8tech/ZiulGfPdc1huK3ku_ACL-5-1024x582.jpg?auto=format,compress
      “Given where this individual was in their recovery journey and the significant quadriceps weakness, the results are expected,” says treating physical therapist Dan McGovern, “and this confirmed my assumption with quantifiable data and informed the goals of treatment for the next phase of rehabilitation.”
    • Those goals included a focus on targeted strengthening of the right quadriceps and integrating that into functional activities to address the asymmetry observed in unilateral activities.
    • Check back in with our next blog to see how this individual has progressed with their rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction and how FIGUR8 provides accessible and objective data to inform the recovery process and deliver better outcomes.
      References
      1 Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury. Accessed from: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Anterior_Cruciate_Ligament_(ACL)_Injury
      2 Gans, I., Retzky, J. S., Jones, L. C., & Tanaka, M. J. (2018). Epidemiology of Recurrent Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in National Collegiate Athletic Association Sports: The Injury Surveillance Program, 2004-2014. Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine, 6(6),
    Nov 16, 20215 min read
  • [object Object]

    Lower back pain MSK evaluation program “We’ve got your back”!

    At FIGUR8 we are on a mission to take the guesswork out of MSK health to create value for all parties in the ecosystem, including payers, providers and most importantly patients. One area where value has been lost, through convoluted care pathways, is in the management of lower back pain.

    Experts estimate that up to 80% of Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime 1 and about 20% of people affected by acute low back pain will develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. 2

    Back pain is also the leading cause of lost productivity, workplace injury claims and job-related disability in the United States, with annual costs exceeding $253B for treatment and lost wages. 3

    So what’s being done to solve this problem?

    Unfortunately, not enough. Numerous societies and professional groups have published best practice guidelines and yet patients who receive conservative care (i.e. non-surgical) for their back pain frequently receive care that is inconsistent with those best practices for low back pain. For example:

    • 3% of these patients received imaging within 30 days of diagnosis; and
    • 3% received imaging without a trial of physical therapy. 4

    Literature demonstrates that Imaging for patients with acute low back pain is of limited diagnostic value as it provides no benefits for function, pain, or disability, may lead to worse health outcomes, and exposes people to unnecessary radiation (for x-ray and CT). Imaging may also lead to additional unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures and subsequent treatment, like surgery, which leads to excessive costs.5

    A new approach is needed

    To improve care and reduce the reliance on low-value diagnostic imaging for low back pain, FIGUR8 has launched the first of its kind low back program.

    Leveraging our breakthrough sensor technology and best-in-class artificial intelligence, the FIGUR8 low back program is a simple MSK evaluation that identifies key biomarkers that contribute to disability and reduced function. Following a testing protocol that has been validated in FIGUR8’s high-performance lab, providers can collect and view relevant movement and muscle function data in under 15 minutes.



    This data reveals insights that have never been available at the point of care, including muscle firing patterns and objective movement quality data, which supports providers to make the best decisions for each individual patient. The data provided by the FIGUR8 system can also be tracked over time to demonstrate recovery, advance treatment plans based on progress rather than time, and when necessary, inform decisions about escalating care when conservative management is no longer benefiting the patient.

    At FIGUR8 we believe that data should drive decision-making and we are building a solution that puts data in the hands of providers, at the point of care, so that they can make the best choices and deliver precision musculoskeletal (MSK) health management to the patients that they serve.

    Want to learn more about our low back program? Reach out to our Business Development team here and book a one-to-one demo.

    References:

    1. Rubin DI (2007) Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain. Neurologic Clinics. 25(2): 353-71.
    2. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (nih.gov).
    3. Andersson G, Watkins-Castillo S. (2018) The burden of musculoskeletal diseases in the United States. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
    4. French, SD.; Green, ME.; Bhatia, RS.; Peng, Y.; Hayden, JA.; Hartvigsen J.; Ivers, NM.; Grimshaw, JM.; Booth, CM.; Ruhland, L.; Norman, KE. (2019) Imaging use for low back pain by Ontario primary care clinicians: protocol for a mixed methods study – the Back ON study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 20:50.
    5. Kim, LH.; Vail D.; Azad, TD.; Bentley, JP.; Zhang, Y.; Ho, AL.; Fatemi, P.; Feng, A.; Varshneya, K.; Desai, M.; Veeravagu, A.; Ratliff JK. (2019) Expenditures and Health Care Utilization Among Adults with Newly Diagnosed Low Back and Lower Extremity Pain. JAMA Network Open. 2(5).
    Oct 8, 20214 min read
  • [object Object]

    Surgeon’s perspective on knee osteoarthritis – keynote from “Run the World” conference

    As much as you might think this is the ultimate goal of FIGUR8, the title above in fact references a conference where our very own Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Oberlander was a keynote speaker and discussed the surgeon’s perspective on knee osteoarthritis (OA) with a focus on keeping patients active and improving quality of life.

    “As orthopedic surgeons, we tend to see people in the later stages of disease, where conservative options are more limited. We need to treat these people earlier and work to avoid those total joint replacements.” – Dr. Michael Oberlander

    OA is the most common disease of the joints in the world, mainly affecting adults over the age of 45, and the knee joint is the body segment that is most commonly affected. The incidence of knee osteoarthritis in adults over the age of 75 has been estimated at over 40%1 and the problem is only getting worse given the rise in obesity and as the population ages.

    Dr. Oberlander discussed the risk factors and causes of knee osteoarthritis and the audience found the link to genetics and the prevalence of OA to be quite insightful. Dr. Oberlander added context as he shared his family and personal history of their experiences with knee osteoarthritis.

    OA causes pain and stiffness in the joint, leads to a loss of range of motion, swelling and enlargement of the joint and ultimately impacts on function and activity. The process is irreversible, however can be well-managed with non-surgical interventions, including physical therapy, low-impact exercise, biomechanical aids like nordic walking poles, weight loss and medications.

    To think about how some of these interventions can have an impact, Dr. Oberlander shared how your knee responds to different loads and pressures on it. For example, during standing your knee “feels” 3-5x body weight, which increases to 7x body weight during squatting, and this is why weight management, strengthening exercises and physical activity are so important.

    Dr. Oberlander also spoke about other non-surgical interventions including intra-articular injections of cortisone, which provide good short-term relief with minimal side effects; hyaluronic acid, which improves lubrication and mobility of the joint surface; and newer interventions such as orthobiologics and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections.

    When conservative management does not work, surgical options are available, including cartilage repair and microfracture. The most common surgery, when knee osteoarthritis has advanced significantly, is a total knee replacement (TKR). In 2014 alone, 400,000 TKR were performed at an average cost of $33,000 and cost the US healthcare system over $7B.

    Dr. Oberlander closed his session with a joke, referencing a new German intervention that has yet to be proven. Overall, it was a great session led by an expert in the field that highlighted the importance of early intervention to manage OA and avoid costly surgical interventions, if possible.
    References:

    1. Knee Osteoarthritis. Accessed from: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Knee_Osteoarthriti
    Oct 31, 20214 min read