And today, more than 6 months later, I am absolutely convinced that the Plethy Recupe system is an excellent tool that can vastly improve outcomes when used to supplement traditional physical therapy services.
I had two total knee replacement surgeries last year. After both procedures I went through traditional physical therapy. For the first knee I did not use the Plethy system but did use it on the second. The bottom line is this; The Plethy assisted knee healed faster, required fewer physical therapy sessions, and had greater flexion when therapy was completed than the knee that had gone through unassisted traditional care. And that is a huge win in my book.
As I wrote back in November:
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.
The system is intuitive and well thought out. It includes training videos loaded for you based on what your physical therapist has ordered. It can monitor your progress and movement while giving the patient measurable results to work with. Most importantly for patients like me, it held me accountable to the exercises I was required to do (when no one would otherwise be looking). It is far more difficult to shirk one's responsibilities when there is a verifiable tracking system in place.
A physical therapist who works for Plethy checked in with me on a regular basis, offering assistance and advice (Thanks, Tim!). That may not be the case with all users. Ideally the Plethy system would be used by a patient's local therapist and surgeon, allowing them to do those helpful follow ups.
In the original article I went on to describe some challenges I had regarding physical therapy this second time around. A snafu with scheduling meant that the required in-home care I was supposed to receive was delayed for a full week after my surgery. I had two business trips scheduled within 8 weeks of the procedure, meaning I would miss another two weeks of therapy. Plethy made it both possible and practical to do the required exercises even when on the road. And despite the challenges, at the point I finished therapy (a week sooner than my previous round) I could bend the Plethy knee a few degrees more than the first one at the same point earlier in the year.
The Plethy Recupe system could be an extraordinarily useful tool for the workers' compensation industry, as it appears to be one of those rare products that can produce better outcomes with shorter treatment durations when properly utilized to support physical therapy services. It is a brilliant idea, packaged in an easy to use, intuitively designed system.
I want to be clear. I have not been paid to review or endorse this product. The folks at Plethy made an offer to let me try it without asking for anything in return. In my initial and subsequent conversations with them, I get the sense that these are people with a true passion for their mission, and that has led to a truly innovative and useful product. The industry friend who introduced me to Plethy was Bill Zachry, who is an advisor to the company and has used the product himself. It was, as far as I am concerned, pure Kismet that he set up that call when he did.
Otherwise, with the scheduling errors and travel requirements I faced, I might have had a completely different outcome, but fate would make it otherwise. In retrospect, I am certainly glad that I took that call. I hope the workers' compensation system will embrace this concept. When it comes to physical therapy outcomes, Plethy appears to have built a much better mousetrap.
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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Bob is an accomplished speaker for the workers' compensation industry. He is available for conferences, corporate events, children's birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. You may access his Speakers Brief here.