Guest: Dr Andrew Ronchi B.App.Sci (Physio), PhD (Comm Sys Eng), GAICD
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Andrew Ronchi is the brainchild and founder behind Melbourne-based technology company dorsaVi. A sports fanatic and former physio for AFL clubs Melbourne and St Kilda, Andrew and his tech savvy brother Dan developed a suite of wearable sensor technologies that have a unique ability to measure and interpret human movement. Through undertaking a PhD in Computer and Systems Engineering; Andrew found his inspiration for dorsaVi – a company founded in 2000 – through the investigation of the reliability and validity of transducers for measuring lumbar spine movement. With the help of his brother Dan they developed a device, ViMove that offered a new way of measuring movement for patients, both in and away from the clinic, in real time and real situations. The need for this type of technology in the OH&S and elite sports markets became quickly apparent, so ViSafe and ViPerform were developed respectively to meet this demand.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment we are joined by Dr. Andrew Ronchi, Chief Executive Officer of dorsaVi. dorsaVi are using sophisticated wearable technology to assess and treat patients with conditions affecting their movement. They provide complex medical-grade movement data in real-time. The technology has FDA & TGA clearance, and European CE mark. It is currently used by over 200 physicians & other health professionals across the US, Europe and Australia.
A recently published randomised-controlled trial demonstrates the effectiveness of dorsaVi technology in the management of chronic low back pain. Patients assessed and treated with dorsaVi wearable technology were 2.4 times more likely to have improved function and 3.3 times more likely to have significantly reduced pain, when compared to patients receiving standard care. These results were sustained for at least 12 months after treatment began; a truly remarkable result for chronic low back pain, a notoriously challenging condition to treat.
Health Professional Radio – dorsaVi
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today my guest joins me from Melbourne in Australia, his name is Dr. Andrew Ronchi and he is from DorsaVi. DorsaVi’s not a brand name that was I was instantly familiar with so Andrew welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Andrew Ronchi: Thanks Wayne.
W: And can you enlighten me about DorsaVi? What is it that you do?
A: We produce wearable sensors and a Medical-grade wearable, so quite different to the consumer wearables. We produce a wearable that you are able to put on different parts of the body to give an accurate quantification as to how people are moving.
W: Okay so this is not to be confused with the kind of fitness bracelet thing?
A: No. Our sensors are cleared with the TGA for Australia and cleared with the FDA in the United States as a medical-grade product. So give accurate measurements to clinicians and to elite sporting teams and even in the work place as to how athletes, patients and workers are moving.
W: Ah I see. Now in terms of geographical footprint you mentioned America and Australia. Are you active in both those markets?
A: Yes, active in Australia first and then we moved to the UK 2 years ago and we’ve launched in the US in the last 12 months.
W: Uh huh. Well our listeners in the UK may be more familiar with you than I am but I have to admit it’s a product I wasn’t familiar with and it seems like from your website that it’s able to produce an extraordinary degree of accuracy?
A: Yes, so we’ve monitored on the quality that if it comes from a movement laboratory you would have seen different movies and different sport teams go through lab settings so we’ve made sure that each one of our applications is tested against the gold standard which is the laboratory setting. So yeah we are able to give very accurate movement in our office and muscle activity in our office.
W: Now Andrew most of our audience are clinicians of one kind or another and some of them are Musculoskeletal experts and lots of them are just, acute care settings and aged care settings. Is there a message you’d like to get them to hear as result of having heard you on the radio today?
A: Probably that I’m a clinician by trade so I worked as a Physiotherapist for years and felt that whilst my eyes were good at picking up a lot of attributes of movement, they couldn’t see things in 2 or 3 dimensions and I certainly couldn’t see things more than 20 times a second is how our eyes work and the data we capture can pick up things like if someone is at risk of a stress fracture in elite level sport or is the patient at risk of falling in a gait pattern or is a person ready to return to play after they’ve had a knee construction. So the things that challenge a clinician, I think we’re able would provide some insights in those realms to give the clinicians more confidence and engage their patients about some of their more subtle parts of human movement.
W: You mentioned the frame rate there, is a link to a video recording?
A: Correct so we capture a video as well as movement as well as muscle activity and we’re able to combine those in real time so when you play it back to the patient or the athlete, or the worker they are able to see themselves moving, they are able to see the movement efficiency that’s described in numbers and colors and it’s an education for them for that patient or worker or athlete.
W: It does sound quite extraordinary given that our patient’s point of view I have had Physiotherapists telling me to do things over the years to twitch that muscle or try to knock one there and quite often it’s not obvious to me what they’re talking about. It does sound like it like from a patient education point of view, it would be ideal.
A: Yeah, we’re able to provide some clinical evidence around the use of this technology Wayne in treating people with chronic low back pain so we’ve ran a Randomized Controlled Trial that tested if you had accurate data in the clinic and you’re able to share that information live with the patient on a computer screen to engage them and teach them how they moved and then the third thing was to ran forth positive movement patterns away from the clinic over 8 weeks, would that fundamentally change their improvement, their low back pain and that’s out published and it’s a great paper. So if people are interested in being able to engage patients in their movement patterns and give them long term results for a condition like low back pain, that’s one of the spaces that we specialize in.
W: It’s always nice when there’s evidence to support things. I found that published papers is a very good way to do that and I’m sure we’ll have some interest in it. You are listening currently to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar and my guest is Dr. Andrew Ronchi. Andrew is the Chief Executive Officer with DorsaVi and we’ve been talking about the range of movement sensors and I guess wearable technology at a clinical level to treat patients with conditions affecting movement. Andrew my favorite question in every interview are about misconceptions, there are misconceptions I guess in every field of endeavor and all the work we do. What’s the greatest misconception amongst your costumers, clients, patients, clinicians – what’s the misconception that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?
A: The comparison to whether more consumer based products out at the market place, people think that you put ours on the wrist and it gives you some information about activity levels. We are very different to that, we’ll put the sensors, if you are running we’ll put the sensors on each leg and we’ll tell you how much time your left leg’s on the ground compared to the right leg. If you’ve got a back problem we’ll put the sensors, two sensors on the back and it’ll tell you exactly how your lumbar spines are moving. So a lot more about detailed movement analytics than general activity levels.
W: Yes, I can understand how that the predominance of those fitness bracelets would be an issue to get the differentiation across to your market and I guess they’re spending millions of dollars on television advertising and chasing a mass market and that’s not the kind of market that you’re pursuing.
A: No, we’re not a mass market company. We’re more so to give specialized movement information and a good example is some of the Sporting groups we’re working with, that’s a validation point for us that Manchester United have just signed up for a third year with us and that group’s like the Golden State Warriors over in the US and as well as the New England Patriots and LA Lakers are using the technology to understand how their athletes are moving in a detailed way.
W: At the clinical level is it being purchased by practitioners or by hospitals or by patients? Who is the costumer at that clinical level?
A: The costumer is absolutely the clinics themselves and the hospitals. So we’ve got NHS Hospitals in the UK, we’ve got a hundred and thirty clinics in Australia that range from major hospitals through to pain specialists, through to Physiotherapists and in the US it’s the clinicians which they call themselves Physical Therapists in the US and some of the Surgeons especially along the East Coast of the US.
W: Andrew thank you for your time today. It’s always fascinating for me to hear about the range of products that apply technology that I’m just aren’t aware of and I guess that’s testament of my ignorance more than the market place but I realize you’re a busy person, I do thank you for your time today. How can people best get in touch with you?
A: Probably the best contact is the website at www.dorsavi.com or my phone number is relevant especially if you’re calling from Australia 0417-882-267.
W: And if you’re calling from either the UK or US you need to add +61 to the beginning of that and drop the leading 0 and that website again is www.dorsavi.com. Andrew Ronchi Chief Executive Officer of Dorsavi, thank you very much for joining us on Health Professional Radio today.
A: Thanks very much Wayne.
W: If you’ve missed my conversation with Andrew, the good news is we have a transcript on our website. There’s also audio archive on YouTube and on SoundCloud and you can find the links to all of those resources on the Health Professional Radio website at www.hpr.fm. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.