In today’s post, we would like to introduce you to Optimov’s VAPA project and its scaling, from the beginning of the clinical trials in February, until today.
A little bit about the project
José, Optimov’s founder and CEO, has been focusing on tele-rehabilitation of chronic patients for the past 4 years, and already in the beginning he knew that the way patients were treated had to be improved. He wanted to revolutionize the conventional way of carrying out physical therapy to empower chronic patients to cope with their disease.
Working in the field, gave him a clear idea of what is needed, so he started working on creating a remote rehabilitation system in his company Physio R&D (the company name behind Optimov). The system, or what we now call Optimov/VAPA, provides therapists with a platform, where they can create a personalized rehab programs for their patients, follow their progress and adjust their program at a distance, as well as keep in touch with them through video consultation and chat.
Like every project, in order to succeed, financial support was needed. And here’s where hard work and a little bit of luck paid off. We created a consortium of 4 companies and 2 university hospitals and were granted funding by Eurostars. Tasks were delegated between the companies in the consortium and the project started rolling.
A functional SaaS platform, 3D agent, biometric sensor (measuring pulse) and AR glasses contribute to the whole idea and give people the means to cope with their illness with the latest technologies. However, in order to support the effectiveness of our project, we needed scientific evidence. Therefore, we started clinical trials on the 1st of February 2017 in Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. From September 2017, we also initiated clinical trials in Oulu Hospital in Finland.
The clinical trials
Currently, we have 14 active patients and 20 registered in total since the beginning of the trials, who have completed 79 rehab programs, see the graph below.
The patients have exercised for 6280 minutes while being monitored with a biometric sensor, measuring their heart rate. The numbers are growing rapidly, see the graph below. Only over the weekend they have trained for over 500 minutes.
Our physios have had 69 video consultations with the patients and so far have achieved huge improvements with their patients. Besides providing a safe physiotherapy platform, we are also educating the patients to know their disease better through e-learning sessions, developed by hospitals or universities. So far, the patients have seen 121 e-learning videos and completed 195 questionnaires to test their knowledge and adjust the whole physiotherapy process based on their current needs.
To know a little bit more the whole process and the feedback from the patients, we did a short interview with José.
How has it been until now?
It has been challenging to obtain the Ethical committee and the data protection approval, to learn the process in the hospital and get to know who is who in the different departments and how they can be involved in the clinical trials to inform and enroll patients in the trials. Nevertheless The hospital where I do my PhD is moving to a Super Hospital in Skejby and it is reducing the pace on how quick we can enroll more patients in the trials. We are now in the need to ask the Municipality of Århus to help us to get their own patients for the last trial.
Is it easy to find patients?
Not at all. All of them need to pass some special inclusion criteria and after that they have to perform some physical test to be included, some of them just want to go either intervention (using our platform) or control (Training at the hospital as usual). This means that they cannot be included, because they have to accept that the randomization of the study will decide for them whether they will go to one or the other group.
What is the feedback you get from the patients?
It is very different, some of them get really excited and train everyday, some others wants to train 2 days a week, some of them do not perform their exercises as expected. There are pros and cons using new technologies and we understand that we can not solve the needs of all of them. But the ones that are motivated, they really get an improvement in their physical tests we perform in baseline, after 3 months and after 6 months. It is incredible how they improve.
For example, one of our participants was scored 238 m in the 6 min walk test in baseline, after 3 months training with our platform this person was able to score 520 m (after training just 420 min in same period with the platform) and after 6 months he scored 527 m (keeping training up to 912 minutes more in the following 3 months). This is simply incredible when your pulmonary capacity has been reduced a lot from the baseline. The nurse helping me with the testing is totally astonished with such results.
When are the trials over?
This is a critical question, we are half the way with the 2 first in Denmark. The one in Finland started for 1 month ago and will need at least 9-12 months to be finished and we start our last trial in December here in Denmark and will need same amount of time. So, we hope to have scientific results after summer 2018.
We hope everything will go well with the trials and we will be able to help many people, all over the world.
At the end of the month, we are organizing a focus group with some of the patients to get to know them better and hear about their experience in using Optimov, how it has helped them and how we can improve it going forward. Stay tuned to hear their stories and feel free to share yours.
In the meantime, you can read the story of Sonja, a 29 year old women, diagnosed MS, just a reminder, no matter what is going on, you are not alone!