Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator Program

The grant will be used to develop a low back pain measurement, exercise tracking, and remote health coaching system with Mayo Clinic & Innovative Design Labs

Telespine, a digital health physical therapy that includes online health coaching for low back pain, announced today that the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of $1.7 million to a joint collaboration between Innovative Design Labs (IDL), Mayo Clinic, and Telespine. The SBIR will support the development and deployment of a low-cost measurement system which tracks exercise compliance and enables remote health coaching for patients with low back pain.

The goal of this project is to create an easy-to-use, cloud-enabled, production-ready system which can monitor compliance of exercise therapy for low-back pain patients and demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of the system with the aim of increased patient participation. The proposed stretching and exercise routine is not experimental, but are part of currently established programs used by the Mayo Clinic and Telespine, Inc. A 120 patient human study, conducted at Mayo Clinic, will be performed to quantitatively measure patient compliance and quality of life.

“As a Techstars++ Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator Program participant, we are excited to collaborate with Mayo Clinic and IDL to study the effectiveness of innovative digital health technologies and advanced clinical protocols to have a meaningful impact of the high costs of this condition,” said Dr. Mark Barnes, Telespine CEO and Co-Founder. “The behavioral health piece of the study is especially exciting and important where we can demonstrate quality of life outcomes for the most important stakeholder, the patient.”

About Back Pain

Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide afflicting 80% of the U.S.population. It is also the leading cause of lost wages and accounts for more than 700,000 surgical procedures per year with a total over $120 billion spent annually on treatments and care.

About The Team

A highly qualified team has been assembled to carry out the proposed research. Dr. Mark Barnes and his team at Telespine will support the integration of the proposed system into their existing software platform providing a direct commercialization path. The human study will be led by Roberto Benzo, M.D. M.Sc., founding director of the Breathing and Behavior Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic who specializes in the study of interventions on health outcomes. Dr. Ralph Gay, a practicing physiatrist and researcher focused specifically on studying low back pain, will provide experience in exercise physiology and back pain to the project and assist in the protocol design and subject recruitment. Dr. Kenton Kaufman, director of the Mayo Clinic Motion Analysis Laboratory, is a researcher focused on the quantification of activity in the free-living environment. Dr. Kaufman brings 30 years of experience in both engineering and research experience to our team. Mr. John Condon (PI), President of IDL, specializes in the creation of electronic medical devices and products affecting large populations. Assisting Mr. Condon will be Mr. Adam Becker and Mr. John Kablan, both staff scientists at IDL and subject matter experts in software, algorithm development, and system integration. IDL will work with Scott Melanson, an award winning industrial designer, to assist in the design of the sensor packaging and harness system.

About SBIR

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards -based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-­tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

For more information, visit the SBIR website.

About NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. Established in 1974, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH. “NIA leads a national program of research on the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of the aging process; the prevention of age-related diseases and disabilities; and the promotion of a better quality of life for all older Americans.

For more information, visit the NIA website.

About Telespine

Telespine’s “on-demand” telehealth solution is patient-centric and gives patients the online tools and resources at their fingertips to help them better self-manage their back pain with the help of an expert. The Telespine approach leverages current, well-regarded research and gold standard evidence-based protocols to positively impact clinical outcomes and significantly decrease the costs of care for low back pain. Telespine is a responsive web app available via a phone, tablet, or computer giving patients anywhere, anytime access to their home exercise program and expert guidance. Telespine partners with employers, payers, and providers to better manage low back pain, improve outcomes and lower costs.

For more information, please visit the company’s website.

Contact Information:

Contact: Mark Barnes, PT, MPT, DPT

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