The current and future need is to adopt the concept of telehealth
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, SynPhNe, a Digital Neurological Therapeutics company, has garnered positive traction for its online consultation. Abhijeet Pandit, Director and CEO, SynPhNe India, VP Global Network Dev & Marketing speaks about the patient and investor response to their COVID-19 combat strategy in an interview with Sanjiv Das
COVID-19 has given impetus to online consultation and telemedicine. What kind of trend does this set? What will the future look like?
As you are aware, India and the world today are confronted with an unprecedented global health exigency in the form of COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic is posing unique health challenges in providing healthcare to patients who have suffered a stroke or are suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), learning disabilities (LD). These patients cannot go to a rehabilitation centre nor can a therapist visit them at home resulting in their condition deteriorating rapidly.
They require continual and prolonged therapy, both for improvement and to prevent regression. The current and future need is to adopt the concept of telehealth and telemedicine in delivering care and therapy to these patients. Since the lockdown, we have initiated, with great success, online consulting and therapy. The consulting session is an hour-long, one which consists of a thorough assessment of the patient’s past and current condition. Based on this assessment, the protocol for the online therapy sessions is determined.
Post lockdown, we will continue to offer our patients a combination of offline and online sessions, as per their preference. The online sessions will essentially supplement what we do offline.
Our endeavour will be to open many centres in the community to be as close as possible to our patients. We want to make SynPhNe technology as accessible to patients as possible. We will also offer SynPhNe technology on sale and continue to give the choice for patients to rent the technology to use at home, in case, they do not prefer purchase.
The greatest advantage of SynPhNe technology is the fact that the technology can be used by the patient at home by himself and the results monitored remotely by the SynPhNe team based on the data being generated during every session. Therefore, we see an extremely bright future for SynPhNe with an increasing trend of patients wanting to maintain social distancing norms even after the lockdown is lifted. Therefore, going forward, SynPhNe will move aggressively to convince the patients to adopt SynPhNe technology at home.
During this crisis, what is the kind of demand for online consultation services like yours? What is the kind of response you have received for your services? What treatment protocols are you following?
At SynPhNe, the aim is to make the stroke patients independent and since the future is uncertain, as to how long the lockdown will continue, these patients must not be ignored. The response thus far is heartening, confirming our belief that we can add value to a patient‘s needs online as well.
The online session is a live session and is scheduled three-to-five times a week. The patient, during this session, assisted by a SynPhNe therapist, is taken through a carefully designed routine of warm-up exercises followed by tasks like picking up a bottle, opening the bottle lid and pouring water in a glass, picking up a morsel of food with a spoon from a plate, etc. These tasks help the patient in his ADLs’ (Activities of Daily Living) and hence helping them become independent.
Besides, the patient is also asked to do tasks like reading, writing alphabets, doing a simple puzzle, etc., all targeted to improve his cognition. Furthermore, the patient is also advised on maintaining a healthy diet.
The advantage is for the patient to get the benefit of a SynPhNe trained therapist, who guides them through an exercise routine that has been specially designed for them keeping in mind the improvement goals that are mutually set.
The patient gets to do this in the comfort of his home improving his chances of getting independent even during this trying time of lockdown.
How many patients have enrolled on your portal so far? How do you plan to expand your reach through online consultation?
We are currently seeing more than 10 patients per day online. We see this number increasing on a daily basis as not only patients see value in online therapy, but also because of the need for exercising caution by maintaining social distancing norms in the months to come. As mentioned above, post lockdown, we will continue to offer our patients a combination of offline and online sessions, as per their preference. The online sessions will essentially supplement what we do offline.
In which Indian cities do you have your presence? Tell us more about your international presence.
SynPhNe (an abbreviation for Synergistic Physio Neuro platform) is a digital neurological therapeutics company; a start-up, specialising in wearable technology and solutions and therapy devices that help restore independence in coordination and mobility for those who have suffered a brain injury or stroke.
Founded in 2014 in Singapore, SynPhNe is the world’s first connected and wearable solution that trains the brain and muscle as one system. It helps to improve functional independence in individuals with physical disabilities (resulting from neurological pathologies such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy), learning disorders, ageing challenges (such as memory and functional decline), chronic stress and pain. SynPhNe aims at empowering patients, post-training, to use the technology themselves thereby taking away the need for a Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapy (OT) for every therapy session.
We have established a foothold in many countries through our own centres in Singapore and in Mumbai (Doctor House, Pedder Road), a second one coming up in Thane. Additionally, there are more coming up all over India later in the year, starting with Hyderabad followed by Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Thrissur.
We are now building the distribution network in India by establishing franchise partnerships all over the country starting with metropolitan cities in west and south of India. We are also actively pursuing discussions with top hospitals in these regions to adopt & use SynPhNe technology on their IP and OPD patients.
We have established partners in some markets in southeast Asia like Thailand and Oman in GCC and hope to add many more in these two regions in the near future. Besides these two regions, the US is a main focus market for us, and where we have already registered a 100 per cent subsidiary like in India. A SynPhNe centre is being set up there in New Jersey.
How are investors reacting to the crisis?
The investors have been quite gratified seeing the strong response that we have received to the online therapy initiative taken in India and Singapore since the lockdown. The initial concern about the business prospect with the lockdown has now changed to becoming sanguine and in fact enthusiastic about SynPhNe’s future.