Guiding Women in Strengthening their Muscles to Reduce Pelvic Floor Weakness [Interview][Transcript]

Chelsea_Cornelius_PeriCoach_Analytica_LtdGuest: Chelsea Cornelius
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Chelsea Cornelius was promoted from being the Project Manager of Analytica Ltd from November 2008 – July 2014 (5 years 9 months) to now currently being the ‘Product Development Manager’ Chelsea has a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Arts (Cultural Studies) and Masters in Biomedical Engineering and has been working for Analytica for the past 5 ½ years. She is the PeriCoach Product Development/Project Manager and has been working on the project from its very early stages. Chelsea has developed relationships within the industry, and consulted with physiotherapists to design a device that meets all of their requirements and recommendations.

Segment overview: Chelsea was the lead engineer in developing Analytica’s lead product the PeriCoach – a pelvic floor exercise aide for women. The PeriCoach is an easy-to-use, clinician-recommended, home personal trainer device and app to manage and monitor pelvic floor exercises allowing users to keep track of their progress and set realistic goals for. This data management system also enables their treating clinician – GP, physiotherapist, urogynaecologist etc. – to log on to a portal and monitor their patient’s progress remotely.

Transcription

Health Professional Radio – PeriCoach

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. Today my guest is Chelsea Cornelius and Chelsea is the Product Development Manager with Analytica Limited and Chelsea joins me from Australia. Chelsea welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Chelsea Cornelius: Thanks Wayne, thanks for having me on.

W: Now today we’re talking about “PeriCoach,” so tell us a little bit about PeriCoach and what it does? And how it works?

C: Okay, that’s a loaded question (Laugh).

W: (Laugh)

C: The idea of PeriCoach was brought to us, Analytica from 5 or 6 years ago and when I researched the feasibility of such a product, it soon became apparent that the prevalence of incontinence in women was significant and yet the technology to address the condition was completely outdated. So incontinence is also known as bladder leakage or weak bladder to people. And 1 in 3 women will experience incontinence at some point in their life, that’s 1 in 3, it’s huge. Some of the causes are pregnancy, childbirth of course is a big one, some exercises… and the condition doesn’t discriminate either. It can affect women of all ages and fitness level. Some of the treatment for incontinence, urinary incontinence is recommended by experts as strengthening the pelvic floor as a first line therapy for incontinence which involves regular time to contraction with the musclea, which is also known as “kegel.” Now the PeriCoach system has been developed with this in mind in conjunction with…women help specialist because we know the importance for getting it right. The system comprises a discrete wireless insertable device and its accompanying smart phone app, a secure data measurement system and an online portal accessible for users and treating clinicians. The device is strategically placed for centers to detect the movement of the pelvic floor as a woman exercises, and sends this information via Bluetooth to an app on his smart phone in a form of trace one, it gives her a visual indication of what the hidden muscles are doing, she’s also given exercise program to follow and progress indicators which all takes the guess work out of exercise for her. She can be confident using this that behind the PeriCoach is substantial research and expertise relating to effective and safe pelvic floor exercise.

W: And I guess one of the problems with doing pelvic floor exercises is actually knowing which muscle you’re squeezing that feels like what when you first starting out. And just looking at your product on the website, it does look like something that takes all the guess work out of that.

C: Absolutely. I mean the pelvic floor muscles are generally something they’re largely ignored throughout our lives until they become a problem. It’s like planning to wiggle your ears or nose or something, it’s not something that you can specifically isolate the muscles and know how to turn them on. And actually visualizing how they’re working because they’re hidden as well, is often one of the biggest challenges as well. And we’re not seeing immediate feedback as well, so symptoms aren’t always improving immediately. It can be hard to know that what you’re doing is being effective so the PeriCoach as you say it really takes the guess work out of it for them, gives them that indication and in turn gives them the motivation to continue to exercise.

W: And I have to say a very clever use of technology, the linking together smart phones and the internet and biosensors. It’s nice to see some of that stuff reaching out at consumer level.

C: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean women’s health is quite underdeveloped and yet we have this technology at our fingertips. So the PeriCoach is engaging women in technology that they’re familiar with. We spend so much time on our smart phones, why can’t we utilize that technology to help us to overcome some of our health issues.

W: Very true. Now Chelsea most of our audience as you probably know are clinicians of one kind or another, is there a message you’d like them to get today as a result of having heard you on Health Professional Radio?

C: Well absolutely, I mean the PeriCoach has been designed in conjunction with specialists the whole way through. And the burden of incontinence on our healthcare system is huge with approximately 4.2 Million sufferers in Australia alone, and the treatment providers need help. Women typically these day little to know pelvic floor muscle training or support during GP or OBGYN visits, post-partum or around menopause, which leads to a life event, two life events associated with weakening of the pelvic floor. PeriCoach alleviates this burden for clinicians as it provides an effective and easy to follow pelvic floor muscle training, women can do it at home. So it is something that they can recommend to their patients. For physios as well PeriCoach add values to their practices by supporting the training provided in clinic with easy to follow training exercises that women can do at home between visits. And with our unique portal monitoring system, it’s actually enhances compliance and treatment outcome which maintains the patient engagement and also encourages themselves.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar and I’m in conversation with Chelsea Cornelius, Product Development Manager at Analytica Limited and we’ve been talking about PeriCoach. Now Chelsea my favorite question in every interview is about misconceptions and I guess in every industry there are misconceptions. What are the biggest misconceptions that you find amongst your customers, clients, patients, that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

C: Well one of the greatest misconceptions that women have is that bladder leakage is normal and the condition they should accept. The thinking is often that it’s just part of being a woman, it’s a part of life. And this is even further glorified through the pad commercials trying to make adult diapers being sexy and normal and it’s simply not true. Women do have options to treat incontinence, with pelvic floor exercise they can often reduce symptoms and sometimes more often cure incontinence as well and we’re here to help. Like data shows that pelvic floor muscle exercises do work, there is irrefutable evidence for that. Our approach which has been very well received has been put to use creative campaign like the latest anonymous video in kegel safe videos to remove some of the stigma to inform women and to encourage them to seek solutions like PeriCoach.

W: Now Chelsea for people who want to know more, how can they find out about this?

C: We have a great website with a lot of information and resources it’s pericoach.com. And on there you can find various testimonials from some of our users who have been successful with PeriCoach, telling about how they are now jumping on the trampoline with their kids, their back to doing marathons, as well as some information on clinicians who have been using and recommending the PeriCoach to their patients as well so and there’s lots of information on the technology and how to purchase it as well.

W: So that’s www.peri P E R I coach C O A C H all one word, www.pericoach.com.

C: That’s right.

W: Chelsea thank you for being with us today, it’s been a pleasure having you on.

C: Thank you so much Wayne.

W: You’re listening Health Professional Radio. If you’ve just missed my conversation Chelsea Cornelius, the good news is all is not lost, there’s a transcript of this conversation on our website at www.hpr.fm. And you can also access an audio recording of the conversation on both YouTube and SoundCloud. This is Health Professional Radio, thanks for listening.