Wellbe, Kiio partner to improve outcomes for joint replacement patients

Two Madison health IT companies are putting their products together to help ensure those who get joints replaced at hospitals aren’t readmitted.

Wellbe’s specialty is in letting people know what they need to do before and after a procedure, while Kiio ensures patients complete physical therapy correctly with exercise templates and sensors that track their progress.

And the two want to help hospitals improve their care as they begin adjusting to a new payment method that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is trying out for joint replacements.

“Technology like this really makes sense because we can drive down the costs and still keep quality high and outcomes very good,” said Wellbe CEO James Dias.

Medicare paid more than $7 billion in hospital costs last year for upwards of 400,000 hip and knee replacements — but many patients still saw complications after. Some hospitals, for example, see complication rates that are more than triple than other hospitals’ rates, which is why the feds are trying out the new bundled payment model in 67 areas around the country.

Wellbe, founded in 2009, is the more established company of the two, listing hospitals across the country as customers and having 27 employees, Dias said. Its product has increased engagement from hospital patients and boosted the rate at which they followed prescribed exercise regimens.

Kiio, meanwhile, was founded in late 2012 and was looking for more ways to expand after launching its product with several customers this year. Its platform offers individualized exercises for patients and integrates with its kiio sensor, a device that “calculates complex muscle function metrics” to help physical therapists understand how patients are doing.

“We can help with the content of what goes into [Wellbe’s] Guided CarePath, and they can really help with exposing us to a lot more potential customers that could use our content,” Kiio CEO Dave Grandin said.

Dias, the Wellbe CEO, said many of his clients have been looking for new solutions to help with physical therapy, and the partnership “offers them something that’s ready to go.”

The two have been talking about about partnering for some time, and the partnership will still allow each company to continue to grow separately.

Both companies share a customer in UW Health, which “believes strongly in supporting the Madison technology environment,” said Jane Powers, UW Health’s director of orthopedics and rehabilitation, in a news release.

Grandin said he hopes the partnership will encourage Madison’s health care companies continue to find ways to partner. Both companies were part of a joint effort in April to highlight Madison’s health tech sector’s achievements.

“There’s a lot of companies here that complement each other, and the more we partner together, I think the better off we’ll all be,” Grandin said.

— By Polo Rocha