The US Air Force awards $1.5 million to MSK solution IncludeHealth

Steven Loeb · July 18, 2023 · Short URL:

The company will work with the Air Force going forward to help prevent musculoskeletal injuries

It's estimated that over 126 million Americans, or half the adult population of the United States, has a musculoskeletal condition; musculoskeletal injuries are a particular challenge for the military, leading to numerous medical visits, lost duty days, and high healthcare costs. These injuries are also the primary reason for medical discharge from the military, causing lapses in training and decreasing mission readiness.

IncludeHealth is a provider of musculoskeletal technology solutions, blending of onsite and remote MSK care, and on Tuesday it announced that it was awarded a $1.5 million Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) by the US Air Force. The award comes in collaboration with the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron. 

"The TACFI we received is a significant milestone for our company, stemming from a series of strategic collaborations and developments. Our longstanding relationship with the United States Air Force, dating back to 2018, has been instrumental in this achievement. We've built a robust partnership with the USAF over the years, consistently providing valuable solutions tailored to their needs," IncludeHealth CEO and founder Ryan Eder told VatorNews.

IncludeHealth's offering, called MSK-OS, is a remote care platform powered by computer vision to deliver personalized and measured care in patients’ homes. MSK-OS runs on phones, tablets, and laptops without the need for any additional hardware or downloads and provides the patient real-time feedback, while also collecting objective adherence and performance data for their clinician to review in between visits. 

"Our technology, aimed at enhancing the health and performance of warfighters, has evolved over time. As our platform developed, the USAF identified meaningful opportunities to continue our collaboration, recognizing our technology's potential to prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries within the military," said Eder.

"The successful completion of our previous Small Business Innovation Research Phase II led us to the TACFI opportunity. With substantial support throughout the process, we were able to pursue and ultimately secure this funding."

Going forward, the company will collaborate with the Air Force, working closely with the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron with the goal of identifying the key exercises they use to train warfighters and the critical metrics they aim to capture to detect potential movement deficits and degradation. IncludeHealth will then integrate these exercises and metrics into its platform, leveraging the power of AU and machine learning to extract precise performance data that was previously only obtainable with costly equipment.

"This data will then be analyzed and compared against gold standards, ultimately being used to assess readiness and identify potential risks of musculoskeletal injuries. The goal is to ultimately enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of training and health management within the Air Force," Eder explained.

The new funding will be used to support the expansion of IncludeHealth's hybrid MSK platform to reduce musculoskeletal injuries among service members. The company also plans to autonomously deliver mission-specific training protocols while collecting performance data to evaluate physical performance and prevent musculoskeletal injuries more effectively. 

The aim is to digitize the existing protocols used by the military, which will allow for more efficient and effective training. By leveraging computer vision technology, the company can provide real-time feedback to the individuals undergoing the training. This immediate feedback can help them adjust their movements and techniques on the spot, leading to better performance and reduced risk of injury.

"The use of computer vision allows for objective data collection. This data can be analyzed to gain insights into the effectiveness of the training protocols, the performance of the individuals, and any potential areas of risk or concern," said Eder.

"This approach not only enhances the quality of the training but also provides valuable data that can be used to continually improve and refine the training protocols. In essence, our goal is to combine technology and data to deliver advanced, mission-specific training."

In regards to what kind of performance data the company plans to collect, that will include evaluating velocity, which traditionally required the use of tethers, optical sensors, and other complex equipment. IncludeHealth, however, wants to accurately calculate velocity, along with other key performance metrics, in real-time using any 2D camera on any device. To accomplish this, it will be deploying web-based machine learning, which allows the company to process and analyze the data directly on the device, in real-time, without the need to send data to a server.

"This not only ensures privacy and security but also allows for immediate feedback and analysis. This approach enables us to gather advanced, objective performance data to evaluate physical performance and prevent musculoskeletal injuries, all while maintaining high standards of data privacy and security," Eder said. 

The TACFI follows an $11 million round of funding raised in February; since then, the company has seen significant growth and development in various areas, with multiple providers starting to incorporate hybrid care into their 2023 strategies, specifically models like Remote Therapeutic Monitoring (RTM) and value-based care, which combine traditional in-person healthcare with remote or virtual services. Additionally, the platform is being utilized in ways beyond episodic care delivery, with applications in wellness, prevention, and marketing.

The ultimate goal for IncludeHealth is to leverage technology to extend personalized, measured, and evidence-based care into homes.

"We envision our platform playing a pivotal role in the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal care, prevention, and wellness. Over the next year or two, we aim to continue evolving our platform, expanding our partnerships, and driving innovation in the healthcare sector. We are excited about the opportunities in front of us and are committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of our users," said Eder. 

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