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Real-Time Patient Engagement: A Solution for Diabetics Suffering from Foot Ulcers


Orthomonitor is a wearable device that can be embedded in orthotics and prosthetics to assess the patient treatment experience. Photo provided by Kinematix.

You may not know that diabetic patients commonly express concern about foot ulcers. According to WebMD, this is because these patients have an increased risk of complication with wound healing. Decreased blood flow and a condition called neuropathy are common for diabetics, and both conditions result in decreased sensation in the hands and feet. That pain doesn’t even include the cost of treating food ulcers, either; the industry is said to be worth between $9 and $13 billion annually.

A diabetic patient suffering from foot ulcers has a lot on his or her mind, says Joe Ternullo, the U.S. president of Kinematix, a company that has developed a sensor-based solution for monitoring the use of orthotics. Physicians often prescribe orthotics to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Kinematix’s solution is called Orthomonitor and it was developed in Portugal, the location of the company’s international headquarters. Embedded within orthotics and prosthetics, Orthomonitor provides sensor technology that allows clinicians to understand what’s happening when their patient is going about their daily activities.

Today, a clinician doesn’t really know whether a patient is using their orthotic, Ternullo says. Since a patient’s behavior is self-reported, their clinician doesn’t know what happens once they leave the office.

According to the company, Orthomonitor continuously analyzes and reports on stride, cadence and periods of use, while providing evidence about whether or not a corrective orthotic is being used and also how it’s being used. A patient’s progress is tracked with an app, which allows them to keep tabs on their own healing progress as well.

Orthomonitor analyzes compliance and activity levels for up to three months, storing the information in the product’s internal memory. The data is then displayed in reports and available to the patient and their clinical care team, according to the company. If a patient isn’t following their clinician’s advice or the orthotic or prosthetic doesn’t fit properly, the clinician can learn that early – and make interventions sooner rather than later.

According to Ternullo, the core aim of the product is to support patient engagement and self-rehabilitation, which can shorten the treatment cycle. He’s excited about the possibility of leveraging the data captured with Orthomonitor, which can contribute to predictive analytics. Sufficient data will be gathered about large numbers of patients, so clinicians will be able to make evidence-based predictions, he says – and that could end up preventing bad outcomes for many patients, too.

The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, applied for patent protection for Orthomonitor in July, and it plans to work with orthotics and prosthetics manufacturers to comply with FDA requirements for this product.

Orthomonitor is available to hospitals, practices and physicians through orthotic and prosthetic manufacturers. See a demonstration here:

Aine Cryts

Aine Cryts

    Aine (“ONya”) Cryts is an on-staff contributing writer for MedTech Boston. She's a political scientist by education, a writer and marketer by trade. She has written for various healthcare technology publications and also served as marketing director at several healthcare software companies in the Boston area. Cryts is an avid volunteer, pet lover and long-distance runner. Story ideas are always welcome.

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