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Human Touch via Massage and Assisted Stretching Helps Prevent Osteoporosis and Helps Caregivers, Too

We deliver a massage therapist or stretch professional "on demand" to service either or both the patient and caregiver.

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What challenges or opportunities are you trying to address within the problem? (200 characters or less)

Patients and caregivers who receive regular massage therapy and/or assisted stretching report feeling stronger, less stressed, and more mobile. A human visitor also helps stave off loneliness.

Zeel's app delivers Massage On Demand(R) and assisted stretching to both patients and caregivers. For patients, regular massage therapy and/or assisted stretching improve mobility, flexibility, and strength. For caregivers, the wear and tear as well as stress of caring for a patient with osteoporosis can take its toll, so regular massage therapy and/or assisted stretching help the caregivers as well.

In addition, the mere act of having a massage therapist or personal trainer regularly visit the patient helps to cure loneliness, the #1 mental health affliction among our older populations, which translates into physical pain.

To use Zeel, patient or caregiver downloads the app on the App Store or in Google Play. One sets up an account (we verify identity, confirm address, and capture a credit card), places an order (treatment type, gender of provider, and day/time/length of treatment), and prepares the location for treatment. The app is beautiful, intuitive, and easy to use.

Who is your target end user and why will they be interested? (650 characters or less)

Users pay for Zeel directly in the app using a regular credit card or HSA/FSA card. Patients can order directly. Or a caregiver can order on behalf of the patient. A doctor can recommend massage or assisted stretching as part of a regimen of care. At this time, healthcare plans do not cover Zeel, but given the recent CMS announcement that healthcare plans can start covering massage therapy in 2020, we are hopeful and confident that some or all of Zeel will be a covered benefit in the near future.

How is your idea scaleable? (650 characters or less)

We launched Massage On Demand(R) in Manhattan, NY in Dec 2012. Since then, we have activated over 100 US cities, so the idea is already scalable and has serviced nearly 500,000 people. In the past 12 months, we have also piloted chair massage at work programs with Cigna, AJ Gallagher, and numerous other healthcare plans and healthcare brokers. We are now also responding to RFPs from healthcare systems to measure the efficacy of in-home massage, yoga, and stretching relative to opioids for pain.

What do/will you measure to know if your solution worked? (500 characters or less)

Patients report that massage therapy at least once a month (and assisted stretching at least once a week) makes them feel better, less stressed, and more mobile. They report a reduction in pain and an increase in flexibility. Our App Store rating of 4.9 after 6,500 reviews provides a good indication.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Majority Adoption: We have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base (i.e. 50% to 83% of the target population or 50,000 to 1,000,000 users).

If you were to become a Top Idea, would you want to actively participate in piloting your idea?

  • I want my idea piloted, and I prefer to do my own piloting in collaboration with the health system and with assistance from the Challenge partner

Company / Organization Name, if applicable (140 characters or less)

Zeel Networks, Inc.

Website (if applicable)

Tell us about yourself or your team (500 characters or less)

My team and I do not have a background in osteoporosis. We each have a friend or a family member who has been diagnosed with or suffered from osteoporosis. Our company, Zeel, has serviced nearly 500,000 people since our founding in 2012, and customers range from healthy millenials to an older population (60-100) suffering from multiple ailments, including fibromyalgia, cancer, dementia, and osteoporosis.

Location (50 characters)

New York, NY, USA (HQ) + 10 other cities

What is your legal / organizational structure?

  • We are a Private Sector Corporation

Innovator/Organizational Characteristics

  • Female-led organization
  • International/global organization (implementing in multiple countries)

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • StartUp Health

Why are you participating in this Challenge?

When we first invented Massage On Demand(R) in 2012, massage therapy was considered a luxury. Fast forward nearly 7 years later, and its acceptance within the healthcare community as a legitimate therapy on par with physical therapy, acupuncture, and rehab has skyrocketed. We're excited to join this challenge to prove that massage therapy (and its sister application, assisted stretching) can help prevent osteoporosis or at least stem its effects after the first fracture.

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