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Harnessing the Power of Music to Improve Walking and Reduce Falls (5/29/17 - Storyboard, Research, Feedback, Prototype, Questions, LinkedIn)

A personalized, in-home coaching solution to improve walking using real time music-based feedback and proprietary sensor technology.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

Our idea is being designed for people who want to maintain independence, lower their fear of falling, and ensure a peace of mind for their loved ones. It is our goal that the solution is easily integrated into their environments/lives to lower the barriers to adoption (e.g. setup time and syncing problems). We also strive to build our solution to be engaging and motivating to use. (We identify these pains as a result of interviewing multiple potential customers and their loved ones).

We aim to improve their walking and prevent falls as their as their walking naturally declines.  We will do this using an empowering intervention that incorporates music, based on neuroscience research and its profound impact on the human brain.

The MedRhythms Stride

The core of the MedRhythms Stride product is the neuroscience of rhythm and how it engages the brain to help people improve walking (balance, speed, symmetry, etc), which will be described in more detail below. However, to build out the core of our idea, we mapped each of the pains and gains as described above to particular ‘potential solutions’ in the following cluster map:

This cluster map then built the backbone for the three core components of the MedRhythms Stride solution. These concepts are in process of being tested by users and influencers, within the following three components of the full solution: 1) The MedRhythms Gait Sensors, 2) The MedRhythms Stride Mobile App, and 3) The MedRhythms Stride Web Application.

The mobile app is designed to be the command center to launch a walking session and sync with the sensors.  The interface is designed to be easy to use and engaging, and is currently in the process of being tested with users and influences.  A walking session works as follows: sensors collect real time data about the person’s walking, such as speed, step length, and left/right symmetry.  This data is then streamed to the mobile app where it’s analyzed in real time using our proprietary digital signal processing algorithms used to adjust music playback.  Our machine learning analytics then allow us to individualize walking regiments and improve our delivery algorithm over time. 

The Stride has the capability to use and change the parameters of any song that a person likes, from any genre or time period, making it fun and and engaging. The person can log in through an app on a smartphone and with just one click can begin a session of walking with music.  The data is kept and displayed in a progress screen so the user can view their progress at anytime.  

The web application has the majority of the configuration settings, which can be access via any cloud connected device. Caregivers are also provided their own login information to be able to track their loved one's progress and see when they may be at risk for falls.  The Stride can also provide fall detection, sending alerts to caregivers and emergency responders, should a fall occur.  This provides peace of mind and decreased anxiety for loved ones.

P.S. Two clinical things that we wanted to share for those of you curious out there:  1) the neuroscience of how music improves music is strong and can be shared upon request and 2) the gait data collected can actually be used as a strong diagnostic (e.g. for pre-cursor fall detection or cognitive decline).

P.P.S. See the power of music on walking here:

We look at competition from two separate angles: 1) Traditional therapy and 2) Fall detection and monitoring.  In fall detection/monitoring, there are a number of solutions on the market, however most of them notify the user of an incident. The MedRhythms Stride acts to improve the walking parameters based on neuroscience, lowering the risk of falls, while still knowing about when an adverse event happens.  For the intervention side, we view physical therapy or exercise programs as a potential replacement, however we believe our personalized, low-cost, and portable solution will provide high quality and convenient care to compete. To keep the human factor in the loop, the MedRhythms solution will also include a trained medical professional as a health coach.

Based upon feedback, comments, and questions, we made some changes to our prototype and ran a few research experiments to test suggestions and questions that were asked.  We have attached a PowerPoint presentation with the results of the experiments and feedback from our users.  We are using this to structure the user experience , components of the product, continue to refine the prototype and conduct further experiments/prototyping.

I have added Version 1 and Version 2 of our storyboard, outlining the full experience - from delivery to follow-up of The Stride.  We are currently doing another round of potential customer interviews about the storyboard and what they like and don't like.  We hope to have a final version, with all incorporated feedback very soon!

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Hypothesis 1: People will engage with our product over time: Experiment 1: We will release a “lite” version of our product, in the form of an app that can be downloaded on a smartphone. While this will collect less extensive data, it will still contain the user interface and real time music changing software. We can ask people in our local community to use it 3 times a week and track their usage.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

How do you build engaging rewards into a product like ours? Any ideas? How do you establish accountability through the service? How do you develop a service that is easy to setup (considering in the AARP tracking study 89 percent of activity trackers were difficult to set up)? How do you overcome syncing issues between devices? What is the best way to integrate the product/service we are designing into someone's life? Any tips?

How long has your idea existed?

  • 4 months - 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Tell us about your work experience:

I am trained as a Neurologic Music Therapist with advanced training in the neuroscience of music and how this can be clinically applied. I created and implemented the Neurologic Music Therapy program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

The MedRhythms Stride uses your preferred music, changes it based on data collected from sensors, and based on rehabilitation from the number 5 rehab in the country. This systems allows you to purposefully exercise, while improving your ability to walk and reducing your risk of falls.

How does your idea demonstrate our Criteria of Affordability?

The MedRhythms Stride is being designed to be affordable driven by the fact that we are trying to move a costly program out of the clinic and into the home to reach more people. It will be initially launched as a low cost subscription service, such that caregivers and care recipients can pay one small fee per month for the months that they use the product.Over time, as we collect more data we will make a case for insurance reimbursement or to be included in a bundled payment for fall reduction.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

The Stride is designed to be personalized, self-learning, and easy to setup. It can be scalable to millions to people, as the process and the inputs from the sensors will allow for the majority of the product to be automated. The least scalable part of the solution is the coaching to help motivate and ensure the caregiver and care recipient they are on the right path. We will build tools for these individuals to make it easier and easier for them to serve more people with high quality advice.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

The sensor data allows us to measure the safety of a person and how likely they are to fall. We can report this data to appropriate parties as insights to ideally reduce the number of falls. We can also suggest interventions as safety decreases to help improve improve walking and thus, safety. We will also get the user to input information about activities of daily living to be able to measure and record the impact the product has on the ability of individuals to thrive in their daily lives

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

The immediate next steps after the challenge will be two fold. First, we will release version 1.0 of our product to get 50 people using it, getting feedback about the experience, and analyzing efficacy as well as desirability of design. Second, we will be launching a clinical study on either fall rate or fall risk reduction, which we will be designing with the help of advisers from Boston University and the TREAT center.


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