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Solution improving patient compliance after knee reconstruction wins Johnson & Johnson HaTCHathon

Team Kneehab has taken out the inaugural Health and Technology Challenge (HaTCHathon) with its solution to improve patient compliance and treatment outcomes for knee rehabilitation after a reconstruction.

The idea, which uses a wearable connected device, could potentially assist more than 54,000 Australians that undergo a reconstructive knee surgery each year. With the need for a solution clearly there, HaTCHathon sponsors Johnson & Johnson will work with the Kneehab team to consider how to commercialise the idea.

The hackathon, one of a growing number of events looking to inspire innovation in the healthcare space, asked participants to solve one of five major problems facing Australia’s healthcare industry: obesity, medication compliance, patient empowerment, the burden on the hospital system, and rural and regional access to healthcare.

Adam Pyror, part of the Kneehab team, explained that Kneehab’s idea was built on using a smartphone rather than developing a separate wearable device, given that the majority of Australians now own a smartphone. Similar to Wellington startup Swibo, Kneehab’s program works to measure the performance and progress of a patient’s rehab, with reports then sent to their healthcare professionals and carers to ensure they are following their treatment plan.

“We wanted to help people stay motivated with their at-home rehab, ultimately leading to a better quality of life for patients, reducing the costs and overall disease burden,” Pryor said.

In second place was team JAX, which also looked at the issue of compliance. The team developed a prototype of an electronic monitoring device that can track when elderly patients have taken their medication.

Like Kneehab, JAX’s device, called ‘Forget Me Not’, provides real-time feedback to carers when their loved one has taken their medication, ensuring compliance and also reducing worry for the carers.

Astrid Jonelynas from JAX said, “Our research showed that the elderly are not adhering to medication protocols, with carers often having to micro-manage their medicine consumption. By having limited connectivity to healthcare professions and being unable to remotely monitor whether a loved one has taken their medicine, we knew this was a problem that needed a solution.”

Johnson & Johnson will also be working with the JAX team to identify opportunities for commercialisation.

Gavin Fox-Smith, managing director of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices, Australia and New Zealand, said the company is passionate is about finding and deploying integrated healthcare solutions that fit in today’s world.

“Great ideas can come from anywhere, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of these collaborative minds and whether they can become a commercial reality over the next six weeks,” he said.

Image: Team Kneehab. Source: Supplied.