Tekscan, the Boston-based developer of tactile pressure measurement systems and software, is building on its userfriendly technology with a new focus on freeing its practitioner-users from their desks and laptops with seamless interfaces between mobile devices and the company’s software.
“What’s resonating with clinicians is mobility, and being able to use a single device for multiple tasks,” said Peter Gantchev, Tekscan’s medical product manager.
Tekscan is responding to this need by developing tablet applications that will interface with the software for its In-Shoe and MobileMat Systems.
These changes are part of Tekscan’s constant drive to innovate. Last year, the company enhanced the automated reporting system that’s a key feature of FScan 7.0, the software for the F-Scan System.
The upgrades allow the practitioner to see data, such as force versus time curves in real time, and then print out the results in an easy-to-read Microsoft Word document format. These automated reports are the reason for the software’s high level of usability, said Gantchev.
“The auto reports have been a game changer for us,” Gantchev said. “We have something unique in terms of the gait curves and the bar charts that the F-Scan produces, so the patient can really see what the issues are with their gait. That’s real-time data that the clinician can use to get their patients on board with the prescribed treatment protocol. Patients are getting much more involved in their care; they want to know why a certain treatment decision was made and what the benefits are.”
The data generated for the report are protocol driven, offering documentation of the F-Scan results that help practitioners embrace the evidence-based medicine that’s emphasized in the post Affordable Care Act world.
“We are using industry-standard protocols—not just proprietary protocols that we developed—to generate these very focused reports. The information in the report matches what clinicians need and expect,” Gantchev said.
George Trachtenberg, DPM, can attest to the value of the F-Scan. Based in Vestal, NY, the nearly 40-year veteran podiatrist has been a Tekscan customer for more than two decades, and now serves as an unpaid consultant and compensated educator for the company.
Trachtenberg said that, over time, he has seen the F-Scan evolve into a product that is easier to use “out of the box,” but that the changes haven’t meant skimping on useful clinical information.
Prior to the F-Scan, he said, practitioners lacked the right tools to assess gait and gait cycle. “With F-Scan mapping, we’re able to directly see what is happening with the patient’s gait, and we can design orthoses or offer other nonsurgical solutions.”
Trachtenberg said he highly recommends that newer practitioners take the time to go through the automated reports with their patients.
“Initially, I used the F-Scan results to recruit my patients into a different [nonsurgical] model of care,” he said. “It gives new practitioners something impressive to give the patient. It’s a source of information that is simple enough for the patient to understand, but still gives practitioners the functional, reproducible data they aren’t going to get with a clinical exam alone.”
Along with app development, 2016 sees Tekscan incorporating new balance algorithms, including time to boundary, and balance training into its Sports AT Software, which is used with the company’s MobileMat. This will expand the software’s applications beyond concussion assessment to include measurements that can help practitioners assess many lower extremity injuries that manifest through balance, including chronic ankle instability and ankle sprains. The company will launch the balance and sway upgrades in early 2016.
The company also offers FootMat 7.0 software, which pairs with its various mat platforms, including MobileMat. The software’s long suit is its automated reporting feature that saves users time on data analysis and report writing. The Automated 3-Box Analysis segments the foot into three key regions—the heel, metatarsal, and total foot—producing a more complete biomechanical foot function analysis.
Sway Analysis testing with the MobileMat for fall risk assessment in older adults is another area of interest for Tekscan, which is working on developing a balance test protocol targeted to physical therapists who work with elderly patients on stability issues, Gantchev said.
Another growth area is balance testing in patients with progressive diseases of the nervous system (Parkinson disease, for example), cognitive disorders, or even cancer patients experiencing functional mobility problems because of chemotherapy, said Gantchev.
“Anything that compromises the immune system can compromise the balance system, so there are a lot of opportunities for us to bring our products to those physicians,” he explained.
Article sponsored by Tekscan.