My second knee replacement of the year isn't just an opportunity to improve my physical health. It turns out it has been an occasion to try a new product that has the potential to vastly improve outcomes for those who are undergoing physical therapy. And my early impressions are positive.
I was approached by an industry friend in August who wanted to introduce me to a company called Plethy. Based in California, Plethy has developed “easy to follow at-home recovery programs,” which can be used to remotely monitor both compliance and progress of required exercises that are part of any physical therapy regimen. As we worked our way through the introductory phone call, many of the challenges they cited resonated with me, having recently gone through a total knee replacement last March. They did not know about that before the call, nor did they know I was scheduled for a second knee replacement in the fall.
It was fortuitous timing for all involved. They offered to let me try their product as part of my physical therapy regimen following the second surgery. Knowing that 1) I would be traveling a few weeks after surgery and would be missing some therapy, and 2) I am generally less than stellar on my own when it comes to mandatory exercising, I took them up on their offer.
The Plethy Recupe system consists of a Bluetooth-enabled monitoring device that can attach to an area of the body specific to the therapy you are undergoing. It contains a magnet that attaches to a reusable adhesive pad. In my case, it is used just above the ankle on the inside of my surgery leg. The monitor pairs with an app on your phone. The Recupe system is a cloud-based service that can track exercise results, allowing physical therapists and surgeons to remotely monitor the progress their patient is making.
I intend to write a more comprehensive report when I am finished, but this appears to be a very well-thought-out system. Exercises assigned by a PT can be loaded into the app. Each contains useful instructional videos. Some of the exercises are “self-reporting,” in that you must enter when each set of reps has been completed. Several of them, however, are directly tracked by the motion monitoring device and recorded automatically. Both count and degree of flexion are automatically entered into the system.
Plethy stresses that their systems are in no way intended as a replacement for traditional physical therapy services, but rather to support and improve outcomes for patients required to maintain certain regimens between PT sessions.
Regarding my personal experience thus far, it turns out that choosing to use the Plethy system has been a real blessing. I was scheduled for two weeks of in-home care following my discharge from the hospital. A major foul-up with the company assigned that task meant that I went a full week at home before I saw a physical therapist for the first time (by comparison, someone should have been there the day after discharge). Because I had been through it before, and using standard exercises loaded for me by the folks at Plethy, I was able to conduct needed exercises during that time that likely helped me avoid more significant issues. 3 weeks after surgery, my progress is right where my therapist expects it to be.
If this had been my first rodeo, with no system to help me maintain a decent regimen, I could have had some very serious issues trying to regain lost ground.
Perhaps the best compliment for the Plethy system thus far came from my wife. A generally non-technical person who is properly suspicious anytime I want to try some new whiz-bang technology, she seemed originally underwhelmed with my decision to try something new and unknown. However, after the initial week we had trying to get therapy services started, she said to me, “Good thing you had those people in California.”
Good thing indeed. I'll write more detail about it as I get through the entire PT process. I do think this system can be a game-changer for people undergoing physical therapy as part of their workers' compensation claim. The information it provides can be invaluable to the medical professional in understanding what levels of compliance and effort are being used between appointments.
Turns out I should have Plethy to write about. In the meantime, I have to go. My phone is reminding me that my morning exercise should be starting soon.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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