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Health Snaps engages patients for better physical therapy results


Three students at the University of Wisconsin were discussing business ideas when one mentioned his experience with a cumbersome paper process during physical therapy. Thinking there had to be a better way, the trio formed Milwaukee-based Health Snaps, a startup currently going through the NMotion Accelerator program.

“Max (Zirbel, CTO), Jordan (Mather, CEO) and I were all in the software engineering program at Wisconsin, kicking around ideas,” said CIO Sean Baumgartner. “I mentioned I went through physical therapy and said how crappy the paper process was.”

How Health Snaps works

Nearly three-fourths of patients don’t adhere to their home exercise program assigned by a physical therapist, usually with a big folder of paper. Health Snaps developed a digital patient engagement platform that turns videos of patient exercises under therapist supervision into an app for monitoring, feedback and reminders.

“The product allows therapists to engage their patients and create videos of the client exercising,” Zirbel said. “You can hold them accountable and communicate with them to let them know if something’s not going right.”

The company’s initial focus is on sports medicine practices.

“We started with a health system in Green Bay, the primary provider for the Packers,” Zirbel said. “We have clinics in California, Virginia, Alabama and now Lincoln. Eight total.”

A trade show provided the avenue to showcase the product.

“We went to a conference in Texas where we launched the product,” Zirbel said. “We got some interest going there, and after that people slowly started to come in.”

From Milwaukee to Nebraska

How did a company from Milwaukee wind up at an accelerator in Nebraska?

“We got an e-mail from Keevin (O’Rourke, NMotion Program Manager) that felt like he wrote it just for us, a young company with a few customers,” Zirbel said. “We went to the interview, loved Keevin and were really excited to be accepted.”

As with other startups in the cohort, NMotion is helping Health Snaps focus.

“The NMotion program has been great for us focusing on our early adopters, getting the first key clients,” Baumgartner said. “They help us set the path.”

The focus and discipline were a departure from how the company was operating.

“We were trying everything,” Zirbel said. “There’s so much out there for what a startup should do it’s easy to get lost in it.”

What’s next for Health Snaps

Still, Health Snaps has its sights set on eventual growth.

“We definitely want to grow and attain more customers, level up and become stronger individuals,” Zirbel said. “Right now, we’re really keyed in on our early adopters.”

And who are those early adopters?

“People wanting to bring technology into health care, people ready to be innovative in the field,” Zirbel said. “We want them to use the product and give us feedback. Then we’ll flip the switch to growth mode.”

Baumgartner and Zirbel are going through the accelerator program, while Mather holds down the fort at the Milwaukee headquarters. What do they think of Lincoln so far?

“Lincoln has been great,” Baumgartner said. “There are a lot of startups in this town, the community has been awesome so far.”

At least one startup who previously went through NMotion has offered help.

Nobl Health reached out and said we’re in the same space, let’s meet and we’ll offer whatever advice we can give you,” Zirbel said. “We’re trying to get feedback on our product locally.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about the patient.

“One of the things we can always improve on is the patient experience,” Zirbel said. “They’re the most important user we have.”

“Without patient engagement, the company won’t work,” he added.

Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.