Dr. Butch Douthit (left) Dr. Kenneth Jaffe (center) and ROMTech East Regional Sales Manager Lawrence Lockhart (right) discuss ROMTech’s PortableConnect rehabilitation device.
By Katie Bohannon, News Editor
An innovative breakthrough in medical technology is taking root in Rainbow City. Through a partnership with ROM Technologies, Inc., Northeast Orthopedics will offer patients a revolutionary rehabilitation experience.
NEO serves as the first clinic in the state of Alabama to implement ROMTech’s PortableConnect rehabilitation device, designed to create personalized at-home therapy sessions for post-operative lower extremity procedures. Following surgeries such as knee replacements, patients sometimes require a manipulation under anesthesia (MUA), a second procedure during which surgeons break up scar tissue, fibrous materials and adhesions that result in stiffness to improve the patient’s range of motion. While MUAs often occur six to 12 weeks after the initial surgery, ROMTech’s PortableConnect engages patients in their recoveries immediately, allowing them to witness how their range of motion progresses throughout recovery.
“For our over 1,500 patients that have used [PortableConnect], we have zero manipulations,” said ROMTech East Regional Sales Manager Lawrence Lockhart. “We’re super proud of that. We wear that on our sleeve.”
NEO’s Dr. Butch Douthit noted that while the clinic offered cycling therapy for patients in the past two years, all those devices included were pedals. Initially after surgery, patients are unable to make complete revolutions, with limited extension (straightening the joint) and flexion (bending the joint) of the knee. The PortableConnect device features two pedals that automatically adjust its radius to each patient’s range of motion, allowing them to make revolutions with smaller radiuses to ensure immediate post-op rehab.
The PortableConnect’s AccuAngle (placed on the side of the patient’s leg) connects to the device to measure knee flexion and extension, while the patient app (located on the device’s screen) facilitates frequent therapy sessions that adhere to each patient’s individualized condition.
The app monitors the patient’s pain and range of motion, following customized protocols that determine the extent of each session. Starting at the lowest range of motion, the device allows patients to progress, working through each of its four modes: passive, active, active resistive and resistive.
In addition, the device records patient progress, sending collected data to ROMTech’s field clinicians and physicians. The data, which is displayed on the patient’s progress charts, is available at all times for patients to track their improvements in real-time while their physicians monitor their progress. Through the patient portal, clinicians have access to continuously updated reports, which they monitor daily.
This constant flow of information allows medical teams to catch potential problems early on, giving field clinicians the opportunity to adjust therapy prescriptions quickly and effectively to address patient recovery in the most beneficial manner. Should patients ever experience technical difficulties with their device or need a question answered, ROMTech customer service (based in Brookfield, Connecticut) is readily available via the direct line. Customer service, field clinicians and physicians also have access to a video feature on the device’s screen, allowing them the ability to speak with the patient via video teleconference.
Patients’ rehabilitation journeys with ROMTech begin prior to surgery, when their physician orders the device. One week prior to surgery, ROMTech representatives contact patients to confirm the order and discuss insurance coverage. Though the PortableConnect is covered by all insurance companies, coverage varies for individuals. ROMTech’s billing team will contact patients before any deliveries are confirmed in the event that insurance would not cover the complete charge.
Two days before surgery, a ROMTech field clinician discusses the patient’s first rehabilitation session. Since the PortableConnect is used within the patient’s home, field clinicians deliver the device to patients and load individualized therapy sessions onto the device. Depending on the physician’s order and insurance coverage, patients typically use the PortableConnect between three and six weeks, with the ultimate goal of a faster recovery, lower cost of care and better outcome for the patient.
“We are super excited to have NEO join our pilot program,” said Lockhart. “We’re in about 29 different cities and metro areas, and we’re with 60 different doctors. The feedback we’ve gotten is phenomenal.”
According to ROMTech’s pilot studies, 13 percent of patients receiving standard care had recovered in two weeks, versus 50 percent of PortableConnect patients who recovered in two weeks. 80 percent of PortableConnect patients reported zero to mild pain in their second week, while zero percent of PortableConnect patients lost extension in post-op.
PortableConnect patients reported: “less pain, reduced narcotic usage, less swelling, faster return of ROM device, increased patient satisfaction and significantly improved PT compliance due to ease of use, convenience and accountability.”
The PortableConnect is one facet of ROM Technologies, Inc. which developed, patented and launched a collection of groundbreaking rehabilitation systems and accessories. With the mission of revolutionizing technology and protocol, ROMTech hopes to bring innovative medical devices into the orthopedic market to positively impact the lives of patients worldwide, to decrease patient recovery time and increase quality of health.
“This is cutting-edge technology for the people of Gadsden,” said Douthit. “We are constantly looking for something to improve patient care and I think this is great opportunity for Gadsden. We’re excited for it.”