The Silicon Review
Get them moving again. #GetMoving
Neuromuscular disease is a liberal term that embodies various conditions and alignments that impair the normal functioning of the muscles either directly or indirectly. Diseases under the neuromuscular category generally affect the muscles and their direct attachment to the nervous system. Nervous control problems can cause paralysis or spasticity based on the nature of the problem and location.
JOGO Health has patented a mobile app that can provide treatment protocols and games which can be used for movement coordination, muscle relaxation, and neuro-muscular re-education to help the brain cells rewire to work with inactive muscles caused by neuromuscular conditions.
In conversation with Sanjai Murali, Founder, and CEO of JOGO Health Inc.
Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
I met a stroke patient in 2010 who made full recovery from movement disorders after 8 years of physical therapy. Patient had incurred out of expenses beyond insurance coverage and had nearly spent her life savings. She said “if I had a affordable device at home for rehabilitation, that could clinically guide me, I would have still had my savings instead of starting all over.” That really struck a chord with me. The iPhone was barely 2 years old and was spawning a new genre of sensors that were Bluetooth capable. In theory, it was possible to build a digital therapeutics product with clinically supported science and protocols that already exists to rehabilitate stroke patient at home with the current digital ecosystem. That was the starting point for JOGO… and it has lead us to where we are today.
Now, JOGO Health is a prescription digital therapeutics product to treat many neuromuscular (NM) diseases, not just stroke. We are embarking on a journey to treat 300 million patients with neuromuscular disorders such as stroke, cerebral palsy, Bell’s palsy, Tendon Transfer, and urinary/fecal incontinence, who haven’t responded to conventional treatments. We have treated 1000 patients in pre-clinical testing, and now, we are in the clinical trial phase.
In healthcare, user experience is critical, even more so than in a consumer device. If a clinician spends a lot of time in setting up the device, it’s a non-starter even if the technology and outcomes are superior. JOGO proved itself to be easy to set up and effective. As the usage increased, clinicians experienced the utility and began using JOGO for use cases we hadn’t thought of. Since we worked closely with clinicians from day 1 - their usage and feedback helped expand our offering.
Q. What is the science behind JOGO?
JOGO helps to enhance the rewiring of the CNS (Central Nervous System) to improve voluntary control of muscles that were lost due to stroke and other neuromuscular conditions. JOGO is composed of wireless, wearable surface EMG sensors, and a patent-protected Mobile App that provide treatment protocols and games that can be adapted for muscle relaxation, movement coordination, and neuromuscular reeducation, all leveraging neuroplasticity – brain's ability to rewire itself.
Q. How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.
A patient in Atlanta had a stroke, post brain tumor surgery, which paralyzed his entire left arm. Traditional physiotherapy didn’t help him. After a ten-week therapy with JOGO, the patient is now able to drive a car and is even ready to play Golf. Another example, a patient in India had urinary incontinence for many years and was unable to control her bladder post-childbirth. She had to wear diapers. Eight sessions over two weeks with JOGO has helped her to recover fully, bringing her confidence back.
Q. An organization is defined by its core values. What are your company's core values, and how are they helping you to succeed?
Safety of the Patient - so that there are no adverse effects; Efficacy of our Product - so that patients recover faster compared to current treatments; Patient Centricity - so that patients make the decisions what is right for them; and Transparency - so that we are transparent to patients, caregivers, investors, and the governments around the world. These are the core values of our company. We think our product is safe, and we treat people for a lower cost compared to other contemporary treatments. Transparency is the key to success in healthcare.
Q. What kind of mixed responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
We were lucky to meet early adopters early on. Those who were skeptical turned around when they saw evidence from early adopters. We are the leader in this industry; we developed the first-ever digital therapeutics product with clinical evidence to treat neuromuscular conditions. Lack of understanding of new digital therapeutics based treatments among clinicians was a concern for patients. The change was difficult for some clinicians who are used to conventional treatment. We created education programs for clinicians and doctors to speed up adoption.
Q. "Earning trust and respect of consumers is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions," how do you interpret this statement?
In our case, we are dealing with patients who are mostly immobile and bedridden. Most of them have exhausted all of their savings in previous treatments. So we are cautious about promising something to these patients. If our treatment is not going to work for someone, we will tell them upfront, so that they don't waste their time and money. Trust is a significant factor in healthcare.
Q. Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?
We follow-up with the patients' post-treatment to make sure they are still happy. Almost all of those who recovered give us testimonials. Listening to patients and caregivers and presenting scientific evidence to researchers around the world is vital to compete on a global platform. We present our studies globally. We also have dedicated customer success team collaborating with patient advocacy groups.
Q. What is the future roadmap of your company?
We are marching towards treating at least 1 million patients around the world in the next three years, and our product JOGO-Gx has already been cleared in India. We are expecting FDA clearance next year.
About the CEO
Sanjai Murali, CEO and Founder of JOGO Health Inc., has fully dedicated last ten years of his life working with leading clinical researchers, game designers, data scientists and rehab professionals from various research institutes across the world to create JOGO - the first-ever digital therapeutics product that used the science of EMG biofeedback to treat neuromuscular diseases. Sanjai has over 20 years of experience in developing and marketing technology solutions and has a US patent.