Novatek’s technical writing and training teams supported fellow MedTech member, Gorbel Medical, in the launch of their first medical device, SafeGait. To ensure user-friendly education was provided to all audiences utilizing this brand new device, Novatek created Instructions for Use for therapists providing gait and balance rehabilitation, as well as sales training for a team of decentralized sales representatives. In this interview, Betty Dolce, General Manager of Gorbel Medical, shares her insights on coming technologies that will impact patient recovery, and what that will mean to rehabilitation centers.
Betty, Gorbel is globally recognized for industrial applications. What inspired you to create Gorbel Medical?
I love to tell this story. We’re known for our overhead solutions for ergonomic lifting and fall protection. It took a first-hand experience to see a real need for our technology in the field of physical therapy. A Gorbel employee's child was involved in serious car accident and needed to re-learn to walk. When she saw therapists supporting her daughter’s body weight, she was inspired to write a business plan and SafeGait was born.
The proof of concept was tested by Dr. Bradford Burke of Strong Hospital during his recovery, along with many local patients and physical therapists.
With advanced software and automation, we’re able to ensure fall prevention while challenging patients in ways therapists cannot do manually. SafeGait prevents injury in both patients and health care providers and has the potential to speed recovery.
Your first medical product, SafeGait, has been very successful already. Where are you focusing your product launch and training efforts in 2016?
We just launched SafeGait in 2015, and we are planning on several new product launches this coming year. We’ll continue to address opportunities to improve patient rehabilitation effectiveness and address inefficiencies with technology advancements and a software release. Gorbel will also introduce another device designed for cost effective fall protection that enables patients to practice average daily living activities, including walking, sitting, and navigating stairs.
Our relationship with our partner hospitals and rehabilitation centers is our real competitive advantage. This spring, we’ll begin conducting training for physical therapists in our Gaitway training center, and introduce video training modules. Awareness is key to adoption, and a mixed channel training approach will help us to educate therapists, and even patients, on the latest research, technology, and techniques.
Our commitment to our partners is knowledge translation. We will never be the type of organization that sells, trains, and leaves.
What’s ahead for your industry?
Breakthroughs in robotics can have a major impact on patient mobility. Exoskeletons that initiate movement for upper and lower extremities are not in their infancy, but rather the ‘toddler’ state of development. I believe this technology will develop in the next 5 years.
Emerging research on neuroplasticity will also come into play. There is real evidence that the effects of Parkinson’s disease can be slowed with certain types of therapy. The same is true for strokes. We’ve known that early, intense therapy can minimize damage, but the research is showing that the brain can be retrained later, and that, with the right physical therapy, patients can continue to make gains.
Our Patient Management Software update allows therapists to make adjustments for progress and continue to challenge patients. Gorbel's upcoming eLearning, quick reference, and refresher training will help to teach the latest ongoing therapy techniques for improved rehabilitation.
Why was Novatek the right partner?
I felt that Novatek had our best interests in mind. Novatek specializes in medical devices, so they were a natural fit for SafeGait training and instructions for use. Their documentation and training team truly wanted us to succeed, and they were a pleasure to work with. They communicate clearly and deliver on time.
How do you measure their success, and yours?
Novatek’s success is in the education of Gorbel, our partner hospitals, and patients. We measure awareness of the use of technology to improve patient outcomes by a variety of metrics—website traffic and requests for information for one.
In the end, it comes down to improving patients’ lives. One stroke victim told us, “a week ago, I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. Today I’m standing. You have given me hope.”
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