Hinge Health scoops up wrnch to boost digital MSK clinic’s motion tracking capabilities

Digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care company Hinge Health has acquired wrnch, developer of computer vision technology that measures body motion.

Hinge said the tech will allow users to measure a patient’s strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, which can be used to improve the patient’s care plan. They’ll also be able to more easily track exercises and improve rehabilitation for areas that can be harder to treat, like the head, neck and hands.

“We built wrnch into the world’s leading artificial intelligence and computer vision R&D lab to understand human motion, shape and intent,” Paul A. Kruszewski, founder and CEO of wrnch, said in a statement.

“I’m so excited to combine our artificial intelligence technology with Hinge Health’s Digital MSK Clinic to improve clinical outcomes for millions of members.”

WHY IT MATTERS

Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to disability worldwide, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization. Around 1.71 billion people are affected across the globe. 

More patients are turning to telehealth and virtual care after the COVID-19 pandemic forced patients and providers to limit in-person contact. Although telehealth utilization has been declining in the U.S. after its pandemic peak, some providers don’t think the industry will return to a largely in-person normal.

“We’ve heard lots of reasons for what’s going on. Patients don’t want it. They want to get back into physical settings,” Tom Kiesau, director and digital leader of the Chartis Group, said at HIMSS21.

“What’s really clear is that, according to data, consumers do want it. And you look at the spending and investment outside of our traditional healthcare industry, there is a huge push to serve consumers. … Health systems are forced to not just think about doing digital, but being digital, and incorporating [it] more holistically into their business model and strategy.

THE LARGER TREND

In January, Hinge completed a $300 million Series D funding round, bringing its total valuation to $3 billion. That “heavily oversubscribed” round built on a $90 million Series C from a year earlier. 

“We are very fortunate to have so much commercial momentum with 4 in 5 employers choosing our Digital Clinic because of how comprehensive and proven we are,” Hinge cofounder and CEO Daniel Perez told MobiHealthNews in an email after the latest round of funding was announced. “That allowed us to raise a Series D which itself was effectively an IPO from a capital perspective. As such, we’ve got a lot of flexibility to go public on a more flexible timetable in 2022. 

“While we are paying keen attention to the innovation around IPO financings, we will likely steer clear of SPACs [special-purpose acquisition companies], and go a more traditional route. Though we will not allow a traditional underpricing by bankers,” he said.

The wrnch acquisition is not Hinge’s first purchase this year. In March, it announced a deal with Enso, which makes a non-invasive electrical nerve stimulation device for pain relief.

“We won’t stop investing in technology to deliver the most patient-centered digital clinic that improves member experience and outcomes while reducing costs,” Perez said in a statement. “wrnch allows us to take a giant leap forward in all respects.”

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