AI FOR THE WIN: ELEVATING THERAPY SERVICES FOR KIDS
Clinician-driven technology can truly support care delivery AND care experience.
- Lindsay Watson PT, MPT
Augment Therapy was founded in 2017 by CEO Lindsay Watson, a pediatric physical therapist who was searching for a way to solve common problems in her own physical therapy practice – frustration with the inefficiency of treating kids once a week, with no way to help them exercise on a daily basis for faster progress.
In 2018, Lindsay met CTO Steve Blake, a computer programmer who had been in the software developmen tindustry for over 30 years. Together, they developed a unique, interactive software maintains the integrity of physical therapy exercises while also motivating kids through a medium they are comfortable with – technology.
Lindsay sought out The Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) and asked for mentorship and help navigating uncomfortable conversations about financial next steps.
Watson was one of seven finalists at the 2019 Shark Tank event, hosted by the Youngstown Business Incubator. She had successfully pitched her company, Augment Therapy, to the sharks, where she won first place in the pitch competition. She also secured other funding opportunities from sharks wanting to invest in her idea.
“Winning the Shark Tank event completely accelerated our visibility and fundraising efforts. It put us in front of some exceptional investors all in one place at one time and served as our tipping point for growth.” The money won at the 2019 Shark Tank event hosted by the YBI allowed Augment Therapy to continue developing its product and bring in consultants to accelerate the business to get the product “into the right places so that we can do the most amount of good with the most amount of children,” she said.
Today, 1 in 6 children in the US has a developmental disability of some type, and Augment Therapy is designed to be fully integrated into the care continuum (while most other therapy plans displace care). This covers the gap between necessary 1 on 1 in-office visits and doing therapy at home.
COVID-19 caused healthcare organizations around the world to pivot into telehealth & remote monitoring. Augment Therapy, however, was already perfectly positioned, even in the midst of social distancing, while a vast majority of clinics had no back up plan for navigating provider reach and improving access to patients.
2021 Updates: We have commenced a large project with Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and are launching a pilot with an Ohio- based Medicaid provider this year. In addition to that, the software will be used the next 2 school years in 2 educational service centers in Ohio, across multiple school districts, to assist with remote and in-school therapy services. Augment Therapy was accepted as one of 13 international companies in the KidsX Pediatric Digital Health Accelerator, the largest pediatric-focused accelerator in the world including 50 hospitals from across the globe. Augment Therapy was also accepted into MassChallenge Healthteach Accelerator and has been building a pilot with a midwest hospital system as a result.