Dartmouth startup wins funding for remote physical therapy monitoring system

Work on Bluetooth-enabled device awarded $225,000 STTR grant
Bandpass Suehayla Mohieldin

SynchroHealth co-founder Suehayla Mohieldin tests a BandPass prototype. (Photo courtesy of Suehayla Mohieldin)

A team of researchers from Dartmouth has been awarded nearly $225,000 from the National Institute on Aging to develop and test “BandPass,” a remote-sensing resistance band exercise system that would allow healthcare providers to monitor, evaluate and guide patients as they use the device in their homes.

The Bluetooth-enabled device is being designed specifically for the treatment of age-related loss of muscle mass and strength, known as sarcopenia, that affects almost 15% of adults over 60. Similar to other at-home resistance-based exercises, BandPass would promote muscular regeneration and growth, but it would be unique in that the data collected could motivate patients and be monitored by a physician in order to intervene, should the patient not perform the exercises regularly or correctly.

“There’s a huge disparity in what clinicians and physical therapists think goes on in at-home rehabilitation programs and what actually happens,” said principal investigator Ryan Halter, professor of engineering and of surgery at Dartmouth and co-founder of SynchroHealth LLC, the company awarded the grant. “This disconnect often results in changes to the provider’s future treatment plans and could ultimately lead to unnecessary interventions that increase costs and potential risks to the patient. We’re aiming to close that gap.”

The one-year Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant will enable SynchroHealth to further develop and refine a previous prototype, as well as develop a mobile application and cloud-based service for data transmission, processing, and storage. Later this year, the team will also test the device on a cohort of 16 patients to obtain feedback.

After the current grant period ends in December, the team said it plans to apply for a Phase II STTR grant in order to investigate manufacturing, lab-to-market strategies and further human studies.

Along with Halter, co-founders are Suehayla Mohieldin, Curtis Petersen, Colin Minor and John Batsis.

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