Kiio, a Leader in Digital MSK Therapeutics, Appoints Industry Expert Afsana Akhter as Chief Growth Officer


Afsana Akhter, Chief Growth Officer, KiioMADISON, WI—Kiio, a fast-growing provider of digital musculoskeletal (MSK) solutions, is excited to announce that Afsana Akhter has joined our executive team as Chief Growth Officer. Ms. Akhter brings deep expertise in the digital healthcare market after serving in key leadership roles at Livongo Health, Prealize Health (formerly Cardinal Analytx), and Medullan. She was also the co-founder of SkinIQ – a company that uses AI and machine vision to help people better manage their skin conditions.

“In selecting a Chief Growth Officer, we had a very specific vision. We looked for a leader with an entrepreneurial mindset and a successful track record of collaborating with national health plans and large employers to provide exceptional member and client experiences. Afsana has all of this, and a passion for improving quality of care and access to services,” stated Lydia Zeller, Kiio’s Chief Executive Officer. “This makes her a perfect fit for our growing team.”

Ms. Akhter will lead Kiio’s Sales and Client Success teams to bring the benefits of Kiio’s MSK solutions to millions of people by partnering with employers, health plans, PBMs and other ecosystem partners, as she has done in previous roles. Prior to working in digital health, Afsana worked at Cisco Systems and Mazu Networks, where she led engineering teams in developing and deploying VoIP and cyber security solutions. She holds her Masters in Engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees from MIT and serves as the co-chair of the Healthcare and Life Sciences forum of the MIT alumni organization for Northern California.

Afsana comments, “Kiio has developed a user-friendly, evidence-based solution that remarkably improves pain and function for people with low back pain, a condition which affects 30% of the adult population every year. In addition, Kiio’s solution has demonstrated substantial medical cost savings which have been proven with multiple health plan clients. I’m excited to help Kiio scale during a time when digital healthcare is more important than ever and is gaining rapid adoption.”

Kiio CEO Lydia Zeller adds, “Most people find it surprising that the U.S. spends more on MSK each year than on diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular treatments. Low back pain is the leading cause of opioid prescriptions, and for every 100,000 adults back pain results in $40 million in medical costs. Employers spend an additional $60 million in lost productivity and disability-related claims. Kiio has been proven to help reduce these costs for health plans and employers by providing an effective, timely digital program.”

Afsana Akhter started with Kiio in June and will be based out of Mountain View, California. She joins two other key hires in Q2, including Karen Hitchcock as the Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience Strategy and Alex Kramer as Director of Product Marketing and Management.

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For press inquiries, please contact Karen Hitchcock | khitchccock@kiio.com
For sales inquiries, contact Afsana Akhter | afsana@kiio.com
For investor inquiries, contact Lydia Zeller | lzeller@kiio.com

About Kiio

Kiio is a digital therapeutic company based in Madison, Wisconsin that provides consumer-centric, evidence-based, individualized programs for people with musculoskeletal issues. Kiio’s clients include health insurance companies and large employers.

Download this press release here.

Kiio CEO Makes List of Madison’s Top Healthcare Innovators


For his work in creating an innovative platform that is reducing costs and improving outcomes in the healthcare industry, Kiio CEO Dave Grandin was named to the 2017 M List by Madison Magazine.

The award is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on the local culture and economy. The M List is focusing on healthcare innovation in its fifth year.

Grandin is one of 30 who was selected for helping to inspire individuals to do important work and improve the community. Kiio announced recently a strategic partnership with WEA Trust to provide its members evidence-based care and coaching to reduce low back pain and improve quality of life.

“I’m honored to be recognized in this year’s Madison Magazine M List,” Grandin said. “Making an impact not only in the community but in the healthcare industry is something we strive for daily.”

The award winners will be recognized at an event later this fall.

Kiio and WEA Trust Form Strategic Partnership


 

Further validating that healthcare payers are actively investing in solutions to improve value through enhanced member engagement, Kiio Inc. announced today it has received a $1 million investment from WEA Trust, a not-for-profit insurance company that provides group health insurance and administrative services to public employers throughout Wisconsin.

“We’re excited about Kiio because their individualized care solution transforms the way members interact with healthcare,” WEA Trust President and CEO Mike Quist said. “It’s our vision at WEA Trust to ensure our members receive effective, affordable, convenient and high-quality care.”

The Kiio Platform, which launched in January, optimizes outcomes and the patient experience by delivering individualized information and care tailored to a patient’s specific situation. Kiio’s Low Back Pain program employs an automated multi-level screening and triage process to provide the patient with evidence-based care and coaching to reduce pain and improve quality of life.

“We are very excited to have WEA Trust as both a customer and an innovative partner,” Kiio President and CEO Dave Grandin said. “Their investment reinforces an alignment of interests where technology conveniently enables improved outcomes for patients at lower costs for both the patient and insurer.”

The capital will be used to further advance commercialization efforts of Kiio’s Low Back Pain Program. Kiio has stated plans to seek venture capital investment in 2018 for further development and commercialization of its health engagement platform.

Wisconsin State Journal: Kiio’s injury-screening technology will get a military workout


By: Judy Newman

When a person enlists in the U.S. military, in addition to going through a standard physical exam, there may also be tests someday for physical strength and range of motion — if a joint project involving the Department of Defense and a Fitchburg startup proves successful.

Kiio, a company whose technology helps screen people for muscle-related injuries and monitors the progress of their treatment, has enrolled the first participants in a study to see how likely an enlistee is to suffer chronic tendinopathy and to track how well treatment is working.

The $1.3 million, three-year grant will study 318 participants in a test that will be conducted at UW-Madison and analyzed by the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

It is one of two significant developments for Kiio this summer that could open a lot of doors for the young company.

Tendinopathy refers to tendon damage, often caused by overuse.

“When we think about military injuries, we think of injuries having to do with guns and bombs,” said Dave Grandin, Kiio CEO. But, he said, studies have shown non-combat musculoskeletal injuries are the leading cause of limited-duty days and disability in the U.S. military.

If enlistees are checked for the strength and range of motion of various tendons from the start, Grandin said, it would create a baseline to help “predict the onset of an injury but also help to rehabilitate someone when they do have an injury.”

Kiio’s wireless sensor measures strength and endurance of muscles, and the company’s software shows the results on an electronic tablet.

The testing process, developed in collaboration with the UW-La Crosse, will look at people who are physically fit and between the ages of 18 and 42 who are not necessarily enlistees but might have the physical qualifications, Grandin said. Nearly 30 percent of the participants will have tendinopathy; the others will not.

“Chronic tendinopathy is one of the most common musculoskeletal diseases,” said Dr. John Wilson, who is directing the study at the UW-Madison. “There is currently no efficient, standardized, objective method to quantify tendon performance, and this is a significant limitation in our ability to assess treatment efficacy.”

The University of Miami team will develop a normal database and create an algorithm that will be used to track treatment and to prevent injuries.

Grandin said Kiio will receive about $700,000 of the federal grant while the rest will go to UW-Madison and University of Miami.

He said if the study shows the effectiveness of Kiio’s technology, it could be a tool not only for the military but for all types of sports.

Meanwhile, Kiio also has received a $1 million investment from a company whose name is not yet being disclosed.

Grandin said the investment will be used to work toward commercializing a new program for the company aimed at helping people with lower-back pain, a problem that affects up to one-fourth of U.S. adults each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“The cost associated with this problem … is massive,” Grandin said.

He said Kiio’s technology can screen a patient to determine the type of back pain and guide the person through the appropriate exercises that don’t require special equipment. A pilot program is underway on that, Grandin said.

“It prevents people from using services they don’t need to use, like opioids, steroids or spine surgery,” he said.

Kiio, founded in 2011, has raised more than $5 million so far and has 16 employees.

Kiio, DoD to Collaborate on Musculoskeletal Disease Treatment Project


Today Kiio Inc. announced the enrollment of the first human subjects in the company’s $1.3 million multi-year, multi-institutional Department of Defense project to develop and validate a novel protocol to assist treatment and risk assessment for chronic tendinopathy.

“Our goal is to provide a fast, cost-effective, portable protocol to inform treatment, determination of work-readiness, and prediction of injury for Servicemembers as well as the general population,” Kiio CEO David Grandin said.“We are honored to be working with a stellar team of collaborators, and look forward to making a substantive contribution to an issue that places a tremendous burden on our military in terms of cost, productivity, and quality of life.”

The technology combines Kiio’s clinically validated force sensor (Kiio Sensor®) with a software application which automatically guides administration of the protocol and calculates and compiles complex muscle performance metrics.

The protocol, developed in collaboration with Dr. Patrick Grabowski, MPT, PhD (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse), will be tested with 318 participants in a trial overseen by the University of Wisconsin – Madison under the direction of Dr. John Wilson, MD, MS.

“Chronic tendinopathy is one of the most common musculoskeletal diseases,” Wilson said. “There is currently no efficient, standardized, objective method to quantify tendon performance, and this is a significant limitation in our ability to assess treatment efficacy.”

Data analysis and modeling will be performed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine by a team led by Dr. Kathryn Roach, PT, PhD.

“The Kiio technology is able to quickly capture a tremendous amount of highly-accurate data,” Roach said. “We will be analyzing this data to establish a normative database and generate a decision -making algorithm that can be utilized not only in treatment, but also in risk assessment and injury prevention.”

About the Award
This work is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, through the DoD Joint Program Committee 8/Clinical and RehabilitativeMedicine Research Program Neuromusculoskeletal Injuries Research Award under Award No. W81XWH-16-1-0789. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Department of Defense.

 

How Mobile Applications are Changing the Face and Future of Health


Baseball revolutionized the use of data collection and statistics for team management and development.  Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s are most often credited with the genesis of this and is now commonly referred to as sabermetrics.  Sabermetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity, allowing managers to make more informed decisions on player personnel decisions.  This is now commonplace for the majority of professional sports teams.

More recently professional sports teams and Division 1 college athletic programs have been utilizing mobile phone apps and wearable technology to collect data on their players.  The data collection includes things such as sleep, nutrition, pain, recovery, training, and heart rate.  This data is then analyzed in an attempt to improve player performance, promote health, and prevent injury.  Many non-contact injuries have been found to be directly correlated to fatigue, so using these apps to monitor fatigue has helped coaches and sports medicine professionals make better decisions on participation and training limits in an attempt to prevent injury — and it’s working. Prior to using this technology, the Toronto Raptors were one of the most injured teams in the NBA (based on player games lost). Two years later, they were one of the teams least impacted by injuries.

Medical groups and providers have slowly begun to incorporate the mobile applications for health management of patients.  A study published this year (DeCock et al) showed that commercial fitness and nutrition apps utilization was associated with healthier eating behaviors and BMI in adolescents.  Similar research has found a positive effect on calcium intake in young women, prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, medication management and adherence, smoking cessation, and weight loss.  These mobile applications not only serve to improve health-related outcomes but also significantly decrease the overall cost of health care.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation medicine is an emerging area for the use of mobile applications.  Home exercise programs are critically important compliments to clinic-based physical therapy visits, but effectiveness can be severely limited by poor adherence and poor execution.  A study by Schneiders in 1998 showed that when verbal information was given the nonadherence rate was 62%. A study of patients with low back pain in 2016 found that the home exercise program adherence to written information was 54% and the percentage of correct exercise execution was even less.  Another rehab study found 24% of patients were nonadherent, 35% were mostly adherent and the remaining 41% of the sample were only partially adherent to their home exercise program. The bottom line is the current, and historical, adherence rate to home exercise programs is not adequate to ensure cost-effective, quality-based health care that gets patients back to work, sport and their daily activities.

The blame does not all fall on the patient.  Despite the consistent problem with adherence over the past 40 years, most health care institutions continue to provide written and verbal patient instructions that lack engagement, interaction, monitoring and appropriate education.   A white paper from The Beryl Institute revealed a 10% increase in patient satisfaction and a 40% plus improvement in satisfaction with educational materials (such as home exercise programs) at hospitals when interactive technology is provided.

Kiio’s solutions break down the barriers to home exercise program comprehension and adherence.  Kiio FLEX provides an interactive exercise library for health care providers and patients.   Providers can select and customize exercises and routines for specific patient needs.  These programs are “published” to the patient’s phone or tablet, giving them visual and audio feedback for correct execution.   At the same time, Kiio provides instantaneous feedback to the health care provider about patient adherence, execution, pain or other concerns the patient may have.  Patients feel more engaged and supported.  Providers feel more informed and efficient.  These factors directly impact some of the primary predictors of adherence to physical therapy home exercise programs –  low physical activity levels, low self-efficacy, depression, anxiety, helplessness, lack of support and pain.

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity was continuing to do the same thing yet expecting a different result. It’s time for health care to stop doing the same thing.  It’s time to use technology to improve patient engagement and adherence to achieve better outcomes at lower cost.

Kiio CEO Dave Grandin to Speak at Tech Summit


Kiio CEO Dave Grandin will participate Monday in the Wisconsin Tech Summit opening session panel discussion. Other panel members include Sujeet Chand of Rockwell Automation and Vivek Bhatt from GE Healthcare. The fourth annual event is being held March 27th at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha. Visit www.wistechsummit.com for the full agenda.

Other major firms participating include Aurora Health Care, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Dedicated Computing, Direct Supply, Exact Sciences, GE Healthcare, HP Enterprise Services, Johnson Controls, Marshfield Clinic Information Services, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Promega, Racine Metal-Fab, Rockwell Automation, TECHNIPLAS and UW-Madison Research Pathways.

Kiio Featured on Patriots.com


As a varsity swimmer at the University of Wisconsin, Dave Grandin knew the value of conditioning as he practiced to prepare for competitions.

And while swimming was his first sport love, a computer science degree, a MBA and electrical engineering credentials later has found the pioneer pooling his varied knowledge to apply technology to the challenge of measuring resistance training.

Read the full article titled, “Science & Technology – Resistance Training Gets Smart with Kiio,” on Patriots.com.