Guest: Kevin Brothen
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Kevin Brothen is VP Marketing Bracing and Support at DJO Global. DJO Global is a leading global provider of medical technologies designed to get and keep people moving. The company’s products address the continuum of patient care from injury prevention to rehabilitation after surgery, injury or from degenerative disease, enabling people to regain or maintain their natural motion. Its products are used by orthopedic specialists, spine surgeons, primary care physicians, pain management specialists, physical therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals. In addition, many of the company’s medical devices and related accessories are used by athletes and patients for injury prevention and at-home physical therapy treatment. The company’s product lines include rigid and soft orthopedic bracing, hot and cold therapy, bone growth stimulators, vascular therapy systems and compression garments, therapeutic shoes and inserts, electrical stimulators used for pain management and physical therapy products. The company’s surgical division offers a comprehensive suite of reconstructive joint products for the hip, knee and shoulder. DJO Global’s products are marketed under a portfolio of brands including Aircast®, Chattanooga™, CMF™, Compex®, DonJoy®, ProCare®, DJO Surgical®, Dr. Comfort® and Exos ®. For additional information on the Company, please visit www.DJOglobal.com
Segment Overview: In this health supplier segment, Kevin Brothen, VP Marketing Bracing and Support at DJO Global discusses the DonJoy X4™ Smart Brace with Motion Intelligence™ that was introduced at the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Meeting (March 2018). To learn more about this, visit https://www.djoglobal.com/our-brands/donjoy/x4
Transcript – DonJoy X4
Neal Howard: Welcome to this health supplier segment here on Health Professional Radio. Thank you for joining us today. Our is guest is Mr. Kevin Brothen, VP of Marketing Bracing and Support at DJO Global and he’s joining us on the program today to talk about the DonJoy X4. It’s a smart brace that’s revolutionizing recovery in orthopedic surgery. Welcome to the program. How are you today?
Kevin Brothen: I’m good, Neal. Thanks for having me.
Neal: Thanks for joining us. What is your role there other than VP of marketing at DJO? Have you always been involved in orthopedic devices?
I’ve been in orthopedics in sales and marketing roles for over 20 years. I’ve been on board here at DJO about 7 months.
Neal: So, this new smart brace, it was introduced at the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. What is this new device and how was it different from anything similar or is it totally different from anything at all?
Kevin: You’re exactly right. So we’ve launched the product at the AAOS American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in early March and the product will be released into the field on April 17th. It’s a brace that’s used in postoperative total knee replacement surgery. So the brace is used for not only stability but it has a sensor built in to the brace that would connect with the patient’s smartphone that would then connect to the cloud and the clinician or the surgeon or the clinic office would be able to monitor the patient’s progress, tends to see how the patient is doing postoperative.
Neal: How many replacements are we talking about a year? Is this something that where we are just dropping the ball before this device as far as tracking progress postop?
Kevin: No. I wouldn’t say that anybody has been dropping the ball. Our company has been in bracing for a very long time in helping people move, helping people to be able to perform. Initially about 2 years ago, the idea was brought to us that we should look at a smart brace for ACLs. So to answer your question, just to give you kind of a perspective, ACL surgery is about 265,000 performed last year and for total knee, there are over 700,000. That number is growing and projected to quadruple by the year 2030. So you’re talking about close to 2 or 3 million procedures done a year. So it’s a growing area and there’s a need for this type of technology because of the fact that you’ve got outpatient which patient’s total knee, they used to stay for 3 days postoperatively and it’s gone to 2 days. And in some cases now it’s gone to one day or even the same day. So the need to be able to monitor the progress mitigate any risk and make sure that the patient is doing well, but also helping the patients stay effective to the surgeon and the office and the clinic and the clinician staying close to the patient. Again to mitigate risks, to give them the sense of confidence and also to allow for the patient to know that they are getting better and ultimately the end goal is to improve outcomes in a hugely increasing procedure.
Not being knowledgeable about braces, from what I’ve seen they looked to be cold and hard and possibly uncomfortable when they’re in place and your patient is moving and twisting and trying to get better. How is this brace different from any other braces that you may have been involved in developing that is now going to be released?
Kevin: Yes. I mentioned DJO, we’ve been doing braces for a long time and we’re entering into a space that doesn’t currently exist for almost creating the space. Because we’re dealing with an older population, we’re dealing with varying different sizes of people. You’ve got the smaller older folk and you’ve got some small bone, larger and more adipose tissue, larger thighs. When we built this brace, in order to have patient compliance, we were absolutely going to have to build a brace that was comfortable to wear that the patient wouldn’t mind wearing and they’d be able to do their exercises while wearing the brace, while walking everyday. It actually walks the patient through exercise protocols like for physical therapy. So they have to be able to wear those braces when they’re doing that but they also be able to wear that brace all day, everyday except for when they’re sleeping, or extended periods of rest or bathing or showering. So it has to be comfortable.
Neal: Well, let’s talk about how smart this device actually is. Let’s discuss some of the features that allow it to be so accessible by the physician and the patient as well.
Kevin: What we did is we built in a postoperative protocol for exercise therapy so that the patient would be able to use this as an adjunct to the physical therapy treatment that they might already see. They can also wear the brace while they’re with their physical therapist and would monitor that motion as well. But what we also did is we allowed or some of the coming calls that surgeons would gather their offices would get would be questions about their incision or questions about how much pain they were having. And so what we did is we built in an opportunity for the patient to take a photo of the affected knee alongside the unaffected knee, upload that into the system. We also included the ability for patient feedback so the patient could ask questions to the clinician and the clinician would be able to respond. In most cases, they will respond and say your incisions looks normal at 2 weeks or 3 weeks and they would wear that brace for those 4 weeks and so they went back for their next visit with their surgeon. The other thing that we did is we have the ability to count the number of steps, the amount of activity that the patient is participating in. The reason that’s really important is there really isn’t postoperative protocols for how much a patient should be walking based on their age, based on their weight, based on the procedure. So we feel like this is very valuable information to be able to see how much a patient is walking, how much activity they’re doing. And then from that information, which the company wouldn’t hold but it will be held within the network of the hospital and it would all be held their HIPAA compliant and that information would help develop postoperative protocols. Again, because the end result is for improved outcomes.
Neal: Does it matter the cause of the replacement?
Kevin: No. It wouldn’t matter whether they’re having their knee replaced because they’re injured, because of osteoarthritis. It really wouldn’t matter at all. In fact, what we feel like is that this type of brace could be used for other injuries as well. We’ve marketed it and really targeted it for postoperative total knee replacement procedures but we do feel like it can be used in others as well. So it wouldn’t matter whether you had your knee replaced for injury or because it was just wearing out as many of our knees do as we get older. But like I said, it also allows to be able to mitigate any risk during those first 3, 4 weeks until they see their surgeon again. The surgeon is able to see a dashboard and see how their patients are doing. So there’s a green, yellow and a red. The patients that are in the green are doing well, they’re progressing. The patients in the yellow, we’re not seeing improvement and maybe the office can call and mitigate any risk. Then if they’re in the red maybe they’re not wearing their brace, maybe they’re unengaged, maybe they’re having too much pain, maybe there’s a problem that again with the surgeon can call their office, can call and say, “Hey. I want you to come back in and we’ll take a look at it and make sure that things are going well.”, because again at the end of the day, you’ve got 3 or 4 weeks whatever the protocol for that surgeon is, is to be able to mitigate risk and make sure that they’re improving. Otherwise, at the 4 week mark for instance, you may come back in, it maybe too late. They may have missed an opportunity to really get a better outcome with the total knee.
Neal: Now, we’d like to learn some more about DJO Global and about the X4 Smart Brace as well. Where can we go online and get that information?
Kevin: You can go on www.djoglobal.com website, look for the X4 Smart Brace and you will find also more information about our motion intelligence platform on the website.
Neal: Great. Thank you for joining us today Kevin Brothen, VP Marketing Bracing and Support at DJO Global.
Kevin: Thanks for having me, Neal. I appreciate it.
Neal: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host, Neal Howard for this health supplier segment. Transcripts and audio of the program are available at hpr.fm, healthprofessionalradio.com.au. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and on Soundcloud as well.