Skip to main content

Essen Health Care, a medical group in New York, has a pain center of excellence with physical therapists, pain specialists, neurology and orthopedic specialists. It serves patients with acute and chronic conditions requiring physical therapy.

Additionally, it serves many elderly patients at home, due to pandemic restrictions, whose functioning has deteriorated due to a lack of physical activity.


Continuity and access to care for patients with chronic conditions or in cardiac and orthopedic rehabilitation is one of the most challenging areas of healthcare.

Challenges include ensuring the quality of recovery, reducing readmissions, improving accessibility to therapy, and improving adherence to personalized treatment. This reduces the excessive costs involved for both the patient and the healthcare system.

“As our offices opened post-pandemic for comprehensive on-site care, there is a varying level of patient compliance coming in for on-site care,” said Dr. Sumir Sahgal, founder and chief medical officer. “The concern includes potential exposure to COVID, cost of transportation and other priorities in a post-COVID era.

“We have faced our own issues with staffing shortages due to calls due to exposure to COVID,” he continued. “Post-exposure or with COVID, regardless of feeling well and able to work, physical therapists could not come to work because they posed a great risk to others. Additionally, we had difficulty recruiting due to ‘a small pool of trained therapists available.’


Faced with these challenges, Essen Health Care turned to healthcare IT provider WizeCare enterprise-wide virtual rehabilitation and remote monitoring technology.

WizeCare has developed virtual physiotherapy technology synchronized and unsynchronized with the clinician’s time. It is powered by artificial intelligence, big data collection and analysis, computer vision and machine learning.

“Our team spent a lot of time training but also guiding patients. Even with clear goals, it took time and effort to get buy-in from all staff and clinicians.”

Dr. Sumir Sahgal, Essen Health Care

“It is a complete solution for all rehabilitation stakeholders, including patient, clinician, multidisciplinary rehabilitation team and payers,” Sahgal explained. “It helps patients reach their highest recovery potential, provides value-based care to payers, and reduces the need for specialist acute care providers.

“The provider has developed a web and mobile application that offers personalized physical therapy video plans allowing patients to practice independently anytime, anywhere,” he added. “These plans are controlled by provider PTs through the WizeCare Clinic web application, which also provides a patient-clinician communication interface, including secure video and text chat.”

The platform uses personalized, pre-recorded videos as treatment support and an open architecture for mobile tracking technology that runs on consumer devices, capable of providing each target patient population with the monitored optimal path to recovery. or the interview.

It is designed to significantly improve patient compliance, thereby reducing the risks and costs associated with hospital readmission as well as the risk of having recurring health problems. It also aims to allow clinicians to have a real-time, comprehensive and continuous view of a patient’s condition.

“The platform augments the rehab experience by allowing patients to maintain a rehab workout routine after discharge from hospital,” Sahgal explained. “It allows them to move toward behavioral change that can help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, significantly reduce their risk factors, and prevent recurring medical conditions.

“The platform enables clinicians to assess patients’ movement patterns to reveal their key deficits and use the collected data to offer the highest potential intervention for chronic, acute/subacute, and post/preoperative patients,” he added.

The benefits include precision diagnostics, a clear treatment pathway, shorter and improved treatments, and early detection, he said.


There are many telemedicine technology and service providers in the health informatics market today. Health Informatics News released a special report highlighting many of these vendors with detailed descriptions of their products. Click here to read the special report.


The vendor’s technology is offered by Essen Health Care in a hybrid model in all physiotherapy centers. Patients who need physical therapy are referred to a physiotherapy center in Essen.

“The first assessment is done by a facility PT, after which the PT will prescribe the virtual platform to patients who prove to be a good candidate – clinical, high level of independence, without cognitive impairments,” Sahgal explained. “The front desk administrator will register the patient and send an invitation to use the virtual service.

“An on-site WizeCare representative can help you with all things logistics and technical support,” he continued. “The patient can download the mobile app on their iOS or Android mobile device or use the web app on their laptop or iPad. The PT develops a care plan for the patient from a library of 1,000 exercises and prescribes the frequency.”

The patient performs the practice independently while the technology provides real-time feedback on performance and tracks compliance and quality of performance to share with the PT. During this time, the patient can continue to meet with the physiotherapist alone via video call or combine on-site and upcoming video sessions.

“During the video call, the PT can see the patient perform the exercise while monitoring the range of motion of the movement on an ongoing basis, which can help determine improvement or movement difficulties,” said Sagal. “The patient can communicate with the PT through the app chat at any time and ask questions.

“The platform helps reduce no-shows and cancellations – if a scheduled patient cannot come to the facility, they are immediately offered to do a virtual session, increasing their accessibility to the PT,” he said. for follow-up.

The platform analyzed patient performance through machine learning algorithms, which led to better patient compliance, better outcomes and lower costs, he added. The provider uses AI for real-time analytics, diagnostic reporting, decision support, ongoing assessment and care plan adjustment, vital patient data, and standardized care.


The most significant impact of virtual physiotherapy technology has been to allow patients to execute their rehabilitation plan in a more accessible and affordable way, allowing them to achieve better clinical outcomes, faster recovery time and improved health and well-being, Sahgal reported.

Essen Health Care, he continued, has seen success with:

  1. Patient adherence to treatment – ​​70% of patients adhered to the care plan compared to the standard 5% in institutions at the height of the pandemic.

  2. Shortened rehabilitation period – a 20% reduction in the rehabilitation period; patients need fewer sessions to reach their functional capacity goals.

  3. Better engagement with seniors – the most adherent group of patients is those aged 65 and over, enabling them to access care and remove logistical barriers.


“Any technology in a healthcare environment is a disruptor, but channeled correctly it becomes an enabler,” Sahgal advised. “Organizations need to prepare for emergencies like a pandemic, and technology can deliver value-based care with lower costs and better outcomes. However, to choose and adopt a new technology, an organization must conduct an internal assessment of people, process and place.

Healthcare organizations have multiple needs across various divisions and patient groups,” he continued. “They need to decide where to implement. In our case, it was clear that virtual PT was needed in patients’ homes and needed to be available through multiple mediums, including phones and tablets, which most patients had.”

The process is key to aligning adoption and empowering clinicians as well as staff, he added. New technologies will require constant adjustments as people and places create new scenarios, he said.

“Staff education, training and adoption are critical to success and the most underrated,” he concluded. “Our team spent a lot of time training but also guiding patients. Even with clear goals, it took time and effort to get buy-in from all staff and clinicians.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the author: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.