Sword Health, a startup working out of Portugal that has developed a digital physiotherapy resolution to allow sufferers to be handled remotely in their very own properties, has raised $4.6 million in seed funding. Backing the spherical is Inexperienced Improvements, Vesalius Biocapital III, and different unnamed buyers within the U.S. and Europe.
The corporate says it is going to use the brand new capital, which provides to an earlier ~$1.2 million grant from the European Fee, to speed up the event of latest digital therapies and drive world development.
Utilizing what it describes as a mix of “high-precision movement monitoring sensors” and the newest advances in AI, the Sword Well being resolution goals to make the supply of physiotherapy infinitely extra scalable, in recognition that there’s a worldwide scarcity of physiotherapists. Its flagship product “Sword Phoenix” gives sufferers with interactive bodily rehabilitation workouts from the consolation of their very own house, supervised by distant physiotherapists.
“Twenty years in the past my brother had a automotive accident. What I realised then (and that is nonetheless true now) is that there’s a enormous hole between the demand for bodily remedy and our potential, as a developed society, to ship that remedy,” Sword Well being co-founder and CEO Virgílio Bento tells me.
“The issue is that the bodily rehabilitation business has not modified within the final 50 years. We’re nonetheless very a lot depending on the one-to-one patient-therapist interplay, which is the gold commonplace, however it’s not a scalable mannequin and is definitely very pricey for each sufferers and healthcare suppliers”.
To treatment this, Bento and the Sword workforce started work on what he calls a “digital bodily therapist” idea. The thought is that through the use of movement sensors hooked up to the suitable locations of a affected person’s physique, mixed with an AI-driven person interface that may take that movement knowledge and provides instantaneous suggestions, a few of what a physiotherapist does might be augmented by machines.
“With Sword Phoenix, scientific groups prolong their therapeutic footprint to every affected person’s house, scale their attain and are capable of commit extra time to delivering the human contact,” he says.
Thus far, Bento says Sword is working with insurance coverage corporations, nationwide well being providers, well being upkeep organisations and suppliers within the U.S., Canada, Australia, Norway, and the startup’s house nation, Portugal.
“These prospects are capable of present larger high quality bodily remedy providers straight within the affected person’s house and reduce operational prices on the similar time – an accomplishment that’s solely potential in healthcare by way of enlightened use of information evaluation and know-how,” he provides.
When it comes to rivals, Bento argues that almost all of well being tech corporations are targeted on creating applied sciences that enhance the one-to-one affected person therapist interplay (e.g., Tyromotion, Hocoma). “This incremental enchancment will not be the answer as a result of it doesn’t end in a paradigm shift,” he says.
With that mentioned, Bento does conceded that there are different startups making an attempt to create a digital therapist. One I’ve coated intimately is Atomico-backed Hinge Health, which has developed a digital resolution for musculoskeletal (MSK) problems.