PeerWell's role in COVID-19: Pain doesn't have a pause button.

I recently shared this note to all PeerWell stakeholders regarding our role in the current COVID-19 crisis facing the world. I decided it was important to share publicly for all our external stakeholders: patients, customers, partners, colleagues, and others that are similarly reflecting on how they can do their part to fight the spread of the virus and support those affected (directly or indirectly).

PeerWell's role during COVID-19

While many other companies are learning how to work from home, this is a strength PeerWell has been building for years. We convened an all-hands meeting this week with participants from all over the world: California, Texas, Toronto, Spain, Bangkok, Amsterdam, and Budapest.

As a group, we largely discussed what PeerWell's role in the crisis is. As it turns out, we all came to the same conclusion: we have the potential to play a significant role in helping patients and other stakeholders get through this difficult time.

PeerWell's mission is to eliminate the burden of pain and immobility stemming from musculoskeletal conditions. Those in pain before COVID-19 will sadly still be in pain during the crisis, however long it lasts. After all, pain does not have a pause button.

PeerWell enables people to recover faster, through devices they already own, safely from their home.

As the healthcare system shifts resources to those severely affected by COVID-19 (rightfully so), there will be fewer resources available to help patients dealing with pain. This will result in canceled surgeries, canceled clinic visits, canceled physical therapy appointments, and well, a whole lot of cancellations.

Although the services a patient relies on to help with their condition will be shut off, a steadfast truth remains: their pain won't be. Pain does not have a pause button.

This is how PeerWell helps:

For patients awaiting surgery, PreHab is ever more important. With more time before surgery, they can work on issues that will improve their condition that normally take longer: weight loss, blood sugar control, hypertension control, smoking cessation. PeerWell's programs are designed to expand automatically based on the time available. And, through our five pillars of health optimization, programs are able to support patients when addressing needs outside of just physical therapy.

For patients in recovery from surgery, our ReHab programs are there to provide a daily guided, evidence-based recovery. These patients are able to continue their recovery uninterrupted while at home. Data from a recent study of PeerWell patients showed a 73% reduction in post-op physical therapy visits without any meaningful changes in outcome. 

Frontline healthcare workers are using PeerWell to deal with shoulder injuries, knee pain, and other ailments that affect their ability to do their jobs. Getting them back to work faster means they can get back to helping patients severely affected by COVID-19. Every healthcare professional is needed to fight this virus. Data from our partnerships shows a 57% faster return to work.

We are pushing hard on all fronts to support the full scope of need for patients as this new "normal" sets in. I firmly believe the changes taking place now in response to COVID-19 will establish a new baseline for healthcare delivery. We've been preparing for this change for a while.

Here are a few high-level needs for digital healthcare delivery that we are addressing:

  1. More precision measuring & monitoring of movement for patients using their everyday smartphone. We've shown accurate measuring of knee range of motion using a smartphone. We are building on that technology to perform more clinically relevant progress tracking. We're leveraging the AI we've been honing for years to support healthy, faster recovery, from home.

  2. More precision guidance through recovery. We are developing new technology that can predict/anticipate recovery roadblocks, as well as know when a patient is safe to ramp up their recovery. This helps keep patients and care teams informed, on track, and moving at a recovery pace that is safe for the individual. 

  3. We are adding more to our nurse case management systems. As more care will be delivered remotely, case managers and nurses desperately need better tools to efficiently provide informed, customized, and meaningful care to each patient.

  4. We are building out new comprehensive programs to support patients across a longer recovery journey. We care about helping patients get back to moving freely without pain as quickly as possible. This means that earlier intervention, greater prevention of reinjury, and access to ongoing support is needed to get the patient past the finish line and far away from complications. 

  5. As patients use PeerWell to manage their issues from home, they should have an easy way to keep others informed about their progress. We are working on ways to make progress tracking empowering, insightful, and shareable. 

Although we're not on the frontlines fighting COVID-19, and cannot properly express our gratitude to those who are, we're proud to be in healthcare. Now more than ever, we're seeing just how critical digital healthcare is set to become. As for today, in the midst of this global crisis? If our platform is able to guide, support, or reduce the burden of any of our stakeholders, we're extremely grateful.

If you would like to join us on this mission to serve people, please get in touch with me personally.

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Hi, I'm Manish. I'm a lifelong technologist and entrepreneur. I'm passionate about all aspects of health, from the common cold to the future of genetics. I love learning how technology impacts health.

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