Emory Spine Center kickstarts clinical trial for chronic low back pain with SWORD Health

Why Sword
July 7, 2021
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From our earliest years, SWORD Health’s founders chose not to go to market until we were clinically assured that our virtual approach to physical therapy was demonstrably more effective than gold-standard conventional physical therapy. As we’ve honed our technology and treatments to serve patients with acute, post-operative, and chronic pain, we’ve invested the time and research to ensure we have the best clinical evidence on our side. Today, we’re thrilled to announce a clinical study with the renowned Emory Spine Center, ranked among the top in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, where we’ll quantify our progress against low back pain, the monster MSK disorder that burdens 568 million people. As we undergo this study with Emory Spine Center and SWORD Health’s MSK solution for chronic and low back pain, we anticipate life-changing outcomes, and look forward to the evidence that this partnership will provide.

In 2021, the World Health Organization named low back pain as the main cause of premature exit from the workforce.

The impact of early retirement on both direct healthcare costs and indirect is massive: between 1996 and 2016, healthcare spending in the United States soared from $1.4 trillion to around $3 trillion. According to the Global Burden of Disease, studies show that this number continues to trend upward, most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. At SWORD Health, we’re no stranger to the absenteeism and productivity loss our manufacturing and labor-heavy clients have faced. And this problem is not only devastating to the employer’s workforce: it balloons their benefit expenses.

In past clinical studies, we’ve measured our effectual decrease on pain, unnecessary surgery, opioid consumption, absenteeism and presenteeism. In this upcoming study with Emory Spine Center, we will focus on those outcomes for chronic low back pain, which we have reason to believe will be similarly revolutionary. We will also deepen our scientific understanding of the role our doctors of physical therapy have on patient satisfaction and adherence to prescribed treatments over a virtual platform, compared to the reduced compliance seen over time from the start to finish of a protocol in conventional settings. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence suggests that an experienced practitioner’s ability to be informed by data from every session, exercise, and movement allows for tailored interventions and hyper-responsive followup that result in more immediate and complete recovery.

As we’ve built our solution, it has become clear that to truly address the complex issues at hand (MSK pain management, opioids, surgery, and mental and emotional repercussions), patients need the best experts on their side.

Doctors of Physical Therapy are not only the obvious choice, but the safest for addressing legitimate MSK-related health concerns, physical wellbeing, and overall long term habits.

We’ve also seen the need for specialized, advanced technology. Our newest motion sensors read up to 5,000 different types of feedback with 4x more accuracy than the human eye. By equipping our physical therapists with a wealth of data and biofeedback, they’re best able to create a high-touch approach from a human response to exercising with pain. This data-enriched expertise allows rapid adjustments to our members’ programs and helps our SWORD physical therapists optimize the way they treat their patients. And the outcomes are continually validating this approach, with surgery intent slashed by 64%, opioid consumption down 48%, and overall pain decreasing by 70%. With our smart technology and advanced human touch, our members have the best chance to heal — which is why Emory Spine Center chose to work with us.

In the future, we expect to look back and recognize this inflection point in treating one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions on the planet. Several organizations have called for the solution to the global mismanagement of this condition. We’re thrilled for the opportunity to partner with Emory Spine Center, one of the most esteemed clinical science centers in the United States, to bring meaningful relief to millions of people. As we broaden our approach and continue to make clinical rigor our priority, our partnership will have a lasting impact on how people heal.

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