HealthStartup Conference on Emerging Technologies in Physical Therapy and Rehab

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The 5th edition of the HealthStartup conferences zoomed in on emerging technologies in physical therapy and rehabilitation, and was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on October 8, 2013.

A small revolution is happening in the world of physical therapy and rehabilitation (in this presentation we explain why we think this topic is so important). Clinicians are beginning to experiment with consumer technologies such as smartphones, tablets and game consoles to see if these could help patients recover faster and more efficiently. These early research projects show promising results. Therapy can be more efficient because much of it can be done virtually, using technology as opposed to a physical therapist. For the patient it can be more convenient (since exercises can be done at home) and generally a lot more fun (using gaming technology). And all this means that the patient can indeed recover faster, for the simple reason that they’re doing more exercises (and doing them properly too). New applications of web-based and consumer technologies are constantly being discovered, for example, in the diagnosis of chronic regional pain syndrome or the treatment of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder.

The potential impact of such technologies is huge. For example, in the U.S. the estimated total cost of treatment and lost wages associated with musculoskeletal diseases was $849 billion, equal to 7.7 percent of the gross domestic product (2004 data). Add the physical therapy needs of people suffering from heart disease, stroke, chronic pain, brain injury and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and we’re talking about an enormous market.

HealthStartup aimed to nudge this market forward. For our Amsterdam event, hosted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, we invited a select group of entrepreneurs, clinicians, researchers and investors to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the field, and most importantly, to assess 10 high-potential startups that are building disruptive solutions in the field of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Each participating startup has been chosen from dozens of candidates through a stringent screening process on one criterion: their potential to make a significant difference to healthcare. The goal of the event is to maximize that potential.

Intense Format

In brief, we invite a select group of approximately 100 investors, entrepreneurs and healthcare decision makers to ‘go deep’ on a specific topic in digital health. The format includes panel discussions with topic experts after which we focussed our attention on 8 high-potential startups.  Following the panel discussions and presentations, we split up in small groups for an intense feedback session with each startup. For the entrepreneurs involved it is often the most intense and rewarding feedback session they will ever have. For delegates, it is an opportunity to make a real difference to healthcare and connect with achievers in the field. For investors, it is a real-world due diligence session of months compressed to an hour and a half. As a sponsor, it is an opportunity to connect with up and coming innovators and top-level decision makers in the field.

See our speakers and startups:

A big thanks to all participants in HealthStartup 5 in Amsterdam, and especially to our partners MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, ACE Venture Lab, Amsterdam Economic Board, Motek Medical, McRoberts and

“HealthStartup was an excellent conference. It was well run, with a great mix of participants. The startups were diverse and offer solutions for a variety of patient needs. There were lots of useful discussions, without the hype that sometimes overwhelms the startup ecosystem. In contrast to larger conferences, conversations flowed naturally, without long lines to talk to presenters. Most people (including panelists) attended the entire conference and were fully engaged in it.”

– Judy Snow, CEO Move Right Health

“The breakout session was a hit! So many insights and valuable advice from top guys in healthcare research, business development and investors. We are very happy having had an opportunity to attend the Conference.”

– Andrius Biceika, Head of Business Development, DevMotion

“Stimulating innovation in the health field goes beyond new technologies, it also include the creation of ecosystems of persons from different backgrounds who are not used to interacting with each other. Healthstartup is an awe-inspiring, high-quality event offering this opportunity, led by a dynamic and very professional team.”

– Azèle Mathieu, Manager Brussels Life Tech Cluster, Brussels Enterprise Agency

“Because the size was small and we were given the opportunity to have breaks, the enterprising opportunities were far better than other meetings I’ve attended.”

– Cheryl Metcalf, University of Southampton