My father suffered from sciatica, a condition causing shooting pains in the legs, and needed daily physiotherapy to help with his symptoms. He’d been to see multiple physiotherapists but failed to do his exercises at home which meant his pain only worsened. It all changed when one day, on a visit back home from university, I saw him playing on the Nintendo Wii, he’d dug it out of the attic, and was using it to exercise. It got me thinking, how can we use games to help people recover from their injuries, which became the premise of our work at Motics.
I grew up with an interest in technology and biology. I’d always been fascinated with engineering and wanted to study it at university but didn’t have the same passion as I did for helping others, hence I ended up studying Medicine. Along the way, I had a unique opportunity to complete a Biomedical Engineering degree as well as, satisfying my original craving to study engineering at university, and giving me more skills with which to help others.
I never thought of entrepreneurship as a career path I would ever end up taking, but I found that the more I studied Medicine, the more I wondered, what if we applied some engineering here to solve that challenge? I keep finding myself asking that question even to this day. By blending the best parts of medicine, and the best parts of engineering, we can get the best healthcare.
Personal motivation and a kickstart
Motics started in January 2019, I had the idea of wanting to do something with stroke rehabilitation a few months before, but didn’t really know how to get it started. With that in mind, I got accepted onto a student incubator program called Kickstart Global which brings together students to solve challenges. I found some great people with complementary skills, and we formed what is now Motics. On the journey, we pivoted until we found the niche we fit in, physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy made sense for a few reasons, but mostly a personal one, my father. He had sciatica and struggled with his physiotherapy. He had a few appointments and was given a sheet of exercise to complete at home to help with his pain. But he’d found that he wasn’t enjoying it, and it didn’t help so he stopped doing the exercises, which meant his pain got worse. Seeing that, and thinking about my interest with stroke rehabilitation and this incredible team, we realised that physiotherapy was a challenge that 1 in 6 in the UK have experienced, and our impact could be much greater there.
Our plan was to manufacture a hardware product which measures electrical signals produced by muscles, and gamify the output, ergo making physiotherapy enjoyable! Easier said than done, as there were a lot of hurdles in the way to overcome, including funding our R&D. Thankfully, with the support of organisations such as Founders of the Future, McKinsey and Company, UCL Entrepreneurs, MSDUK and more, we were able to get there, and we’re currently trialling our third iteration with our physiotherapists in the next few months.
Along the way, we also ended up developing our video consultation platform in response to COVID-19. Video consultations were always on our roadmap, but the landscape necessitated reordering our roadmap to deliver the most impact for our physios and patients at this critical time.
Covid-19 and home physiotherapy
At Motics, we enable effective and enjoyable physiotherapy at home. The biggest challenges facing physiotherapy at the moment are access and adherence. 10 million people need physiotherapy every year in the UK, but waiting lists are over 8 weeks. With COVID-19, physiotherapy has slowed, meaning that on the back-end, there’s going to be a lot more patients adding to that waiting list. Compounding that problem is the WFH situation with many people not having ergonomic setups at home, leading to back/neck/wrist strains, of which the mainstay of treatment is physiotherapy.
In short, it’s a problem growing exponentially. We’re here to solve it. Our focus has always been on improving adherence to physiotherapy, primarily through our wearable technology, which gamifies physiotherapy to make the experience more enjoyable. Recently, we realised that all of our physiotherapists were out of work due to social distancing, so we decided to help them, and developed our video consultation platform for physiotherapy in just 10 days. It helps patients to access physiotherapy at a time when being sedentary is causing musculoskeletal issues, and helps physiotherapists to adopt a system keeping them in work.
Growth through innovation
Motics has grown incredibly quickly in the last year, but especially so in the last 3 months with our video consultation platform. We’re bringing in new physiotherapy clinics daily, and more patients sign up daily to find the solution to their WFH aches and pains. We completed our user trial last year and showed a 250% improvement in muscle activity and 4x improvement in adherence compared to the normal sheet of paper we get for physiotherapy. Later this year, we’ll be conducting a much larger trial, and hope to show how much impact we can have on the NHS, and on anyone needing physiotherapy.
We’re on track for a commercial launch of our hardware product in Q4 2020 pending regulatory approval, at which point, we will have launched two key streams of our company, remote consultations and remote monitoring, ahead of schedule. Long-term success for us is where we help 1 million people to completely recover from their injuries.
We’re looking for physiotherapists to bring onto the platform to support our patients currently seeking out consultations. If you’re interested, check out www.motics.co.uk/physios.
If you’re a physiotherapist, or looking for help with that muscle pain, download the Motics app (www.motics.co.uk) and see how we can help today!