Momentum Health helps your doctor detect scoliosis
by Startup Montréal 18 June 2023
This article was initially published in French on infobref.com
Scoliosis is a pathological curvature of the spine. It must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. But treatment is not always optimal: it often comes too late, and treatments are too far apart. Montreal-based start-up Momentum Health has developed an application that simplifies and accelerates the diagnosis and treatment process.
The problem the company is tackling is the inefficiency of conventional methods used to detect and treat scoliosis.
“People who suffer from scoliosis are often treated too late, when the deformity is clearly visible and constricting,” explains Evan Dimentberg, co-founder of Momentum Health. Around half of all patients treated for scoliosis receive surgical treatment. Yet many of these patients could have avoided surgery if they had been treated earlier and prescribed an orthopedic brace.
Another part of the problem, adds Evan Dimentberg, is that “patients under care are offered follow-up appointments at intervals that are too far apart”, often several months, but scoliosis can worsen rapidly. More frequent follow-up would help delay its development.
Momentum Health’s solution is a mobile application that analyzes and predicts spinal curvature. The application works as follows: a patient asks a loved one to use a phone equipped with the app, using the phone’s camera, the person shoots a video around the patient’s body. From this video, the application generates a three-dimensional digital model of the patient’s body.
After analyzing the 3D model, the application indicates whether the patient needs to see a doctor, or if a previously diagnosed case of scoliosis has progressed. Evan Dimentberg adds that this process reduces the number of X-rays required, and therefore the patient’s exposure to radiation.
Momentum Health’s business model is to sell the rights to use its application to hospitals or people with scoliosis. “Ideally, one day user fees will be covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec,” says Evan Dimentberg.
In January, the company secured a $2.5 million pre-seed investment led by the AO Foundation, an international group of orthopedic physicians headquartered in Switzerland. Health Canada recently approved Momentum Health’s application, giving the start-up the right to market its product. It expects to do so by the end of the year, once it has completed the clinical studies it is conducting in partnership with several hospitals, including Sainte-Justine in Montreal.
Momentum Health is one of 20 start-ups selected this year in Startup Montréal’s Bourse+ program.
The company will launch a campaign this year to encourage patients to use its app. It is also seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to launch its app in the United States.
In the longer term, Evan Dimentberg hopes to develop similar applications to screen for other pathologies, such as cranial deformities.
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