Customizing therapy sessions

Abhijeet, a Mechanical Engineer and MBA, sharing his insights about growth, strategy and expansion of SynPhNe, with Medical Equipment & Automation, mentions about developing its network and marketing activities to build the brand globally.

What is SynPhNe and how did it come into existence?

SynPhNe (an abbreviation for Synergistic Physio Neuro platform) is a Digital Neurological Therapeutics company; a start-up, specialising in providing solutions using wearable technology. Dr. Subhasis Banerji, one of the founders’ was a TBI patient and recovering from it pushed him to develop a technology that can help millions of patients recover function and cognition and become independent again. Founded in 2014 in Singapore, SynPhNe is the world’s first connected wearable solution that trains brain and muscle as ONE system. It helps to improve functional independence in individuals with physical disabilities (resulting from neurological pathologies such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy), learning disorders, ageing challenges (such as memory and functional decline), chronic stress and pain.

SynPhNe aims at empowering patients post training, to use the technology themselves, thereby taking away the need for a Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapy (OT) for every therapy session. The device is designed to provide real-time feedback/response to the patients on what is happening in their brain and muscles. We have established a foothold in many countries through our own centres in Singapore and in Mumbai (Doctor House, Pedder Road), a second one was stated to be coming up in Thane by end of April 2020. We are now building the distribution network in India by establishing franchise partnerships all over the country starting with metropolitan cities in west and south of India. We are also actively pursuing discussions with top hospitals in these regions to adopt & use SynPhNe technology on their IP and OPD patients.

Could you expand upon what is the device and what are its uses?

SynPhNe is a non-invasive, connected health solution (connects muscles and brain). It helps train brain and body as one system and the only device which helps patients to recover their functional independence of the upper limb, and also improve cognition. The device consists of patented computer software connected to a specially designed headset with sensors measuring EEG (Brain electrical activity) and arm glove with sensors measuring surface EMG (Muscle electrical activity). The biofeedback from the headgear and armgear is displayed real- time on the computer screen making the patient aware of what is happening inside his brain and about his muscle contractions, while he is doing the exercises prescribed for him. These exercises are being played in the form of a playlist on his computer screen; each exercise being for 2~3 minutes duration.

The technology helps the patient decompensate maladaptive actions, which he usually develops post stroke. Most patients start using the shoulder muscles more post stroke instead of the wrist & forearm for a specific action, thereby developing compensatory actions which ultimately adversely affect functioning of all the muscles of his affected arm. The technology also helps the patient reduce muscle tone, which is a typical problem with most stroke and TBI patients. On the brain level, EEG indicates what kind of changes are happening in his brain as he progresses with the sessions. For e.g., there better brain symmetry between the two hemispheres, & if the affected hemisphere is started to fire more indicating correct rewiring of the brain.

Additionally, the EMG and EEG data, being gathered wirelessly, helps in generating session performance reports, which are system generated at the end of every session. Besides, these session reports, the data of several sessions are used to perform complex analytics which can be used in various ways to benefit the patient. The SynPhNe device is designed by keeping in mind the three pillars of sustainable health through empowerment inspired from the model of sustainable development proposed by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr. S.P Singh namely: physical connectivity, electronic connectivity and knowledge connectivity, and the learning model is adapted from the scientific principles of developmental biology and modern neuroscience. It leverages the training principles of mainstream therapy, postural alignment and energy management, including some based on techniques of yoga and martial arts. SynPhNe is a home-use solution that can be administered by a non-medical person and thus helps stroke patients to undergo rehabilitation at home, a paradigm shift from the way traditional therapy is done.

Device usage

  • It helps train brain and body as one system and the only device which helps patients to recover their functional capabilities and thereby, independence.
  • It helps therapists better customise rehabilitation routines based on the individual patient’s capabilities and perceptions.
  • The devise weighs just 750 gm which makes it easy to carry and use in multiple locations.
  • The device helps patients across the spectrum- acute & subacute patients who are still recuperating in the ward of a hospital & also chronic patients who have had a stroke or a trauma years ago.

Tell us about device availability and what is its cost?

SynPhNe technology has been made commercially available on two platforms – the SynPhNe Xpert (multiuser version for franchisees, hospitals and clinics) and the SynPhNe eNabl (single user version for home users). Both had been accorded FDA Class I and HSA Class A certifications. Currently, the devices are manufactured in Singapore and the cost of the device varies for a single user or a multi-user version. Additionally, we customize the therapy sessions as per the patient’s needs and ability to perform. Patients can buy the device from SynPhNe centres and depending upon their requirement, the quotation varies. Our first flagship care centre in India was started in July 2019 at Doctor House, Pedder Road. In a span of just over few months, the centre has managed to reach capacity utilization of over 70% and has treated more than 70 patients. This centre has all the brand elements of SynPhNe and follows the processes carefully designed to offer the best experience to the patients and caregivers.

Since December 2019, we have also started renting the device for patients to use independently at home. The technology is being currently distributed through centers in Mumbai and we will shortly appoint partners to make it available in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Thrissur and Ahmedabad. SynPhNe can also treat patients admitted in hospitals with a specially designed bedside version of the device, which is available for hospitals to use for their IPD patients.

Do you plan to make this device available for all PHC? What are your future plans?

Our plan is to make the technology available to all the socio-economic sections of the spectrum across the length and breadth of India. We plan to do this through an extensive network of distributors, franchisees and hospitals spread throughout the country.
In addition, we will also work with NGOs’ to make the devise available through PHCs’ to make the technology accessible to lowest socio-economic sections of the society. We also plan to collaborate with home therapy companies by training their therapists to use SynPhNe on their patients.

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