By Amy Crowley

The Christian Village Communities in Mason and Mt. Healthy are being celebrated as finalists for the 2018 Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award.

Each year, The Health Collaborative recognizes the healthcare heroes in our community at the Inspire | Healthcare Gala and Awards Celebration. This year’s sold-out event is being held on November 8 at The Center downtown. Award categories include Diversity and Inclusion, Gen-H (population health), Informatics Solutions (health information technology), and Leadership in Quality Improvement.

Named for a tireless proponent of patient safety and now in its 16th year, the Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award is given to the individual or team that has identified an opportunity to improve patient care and safety, and applied the PDSA principles of quality improvement to develop a successful intervention.

Christian Village Communities in Mason and Mt. Healthy are the first in the nation to bring smart sock technology to its rehab and therapy patients. Through this groundbreaking technology developed by a local company, Palarum, the two organizations are working to test a product that will change the way healthcare facilities improve patient care and therapy outcomes.

How a Pair of Socks Improves Patient Care
When Lisa Cecil, VP of Health Services at Christian Village Communities (CVC), and Patrick Baker, Palarum’s founder and CEO, met years previously, Baker’s smart sock idea was still in its infancy. When discussing his concept, Cecil knew she would one day want to test the product at CVC. A couple of years later the collaboration was established and the product was put into use and testing in January of this year.

The Palarum technology being used at CVC, more formally called the PUP® Smart Sock, is no ordinary sock. PUP (which stands for “Patient is Up!”) uses the latest technology, plus advanced robotics, processing power, and an unprecedented system that gathers data about weight bearing, balance, and gait that has never been measurable in a wearable product within a patient’s own environment until now.

Using wireless Bluetooth wearable technology, the PUP system is used in rehabilitation and physical therapy to help teach patients how to more evenly distribute their weight when experiencing foot pain and injury.

“When we learned of Palarum’s smart sock technology, we were excited about its possibilities to improve patient care and therapy outcomes at our long-term care facilities,” said Cecil. “It was a high-tech solution that we felt would keep our residents safe and give our therapists valuable information for treatment in real time.”

A Match Made in Heaven
The collaboration between the two organizations has been mutually beneficial. Christian Village Communities is providing a state-of-the-art service for its residents and Palarum is able to get in-depth feedback and critique from professionals and real patients. Onsite daily, for a period of time, Palarum representatives met with CVC therapists and took feedback and suggestions back to engineers who promptly addressed issues to make changes and improvements to the product.

The results after several weeks of use included the development of a computerized, tablet version of a TUG (Timed Up and Go) test, a standard test within the physical therapy industry. The TUG test is a simple test used to assess a person’s mobility and requires both static and dynamic balance. It uses the time that a person takes to rise from a chair, walk ten feet, turn around, walk back to the chair, and sit down.

The computerized TUG test is now the first of its kind giving medical providers data that was never attainable before. Now, the exact time, average step length, average cadence and gait speed can be observed and recorded in real time and can be utilized when treating long-term residents, short-term patients, independent and assisted living residents and outpatients. In the future, the goal is to share patient data and progress with orthopedic surgeons, referral sources, and potentially payers.

“We were excited about SmartSock’s possibilities to improve patient care and therapy outcomes at our long-term care facilities. It was a high-tech solution that keeps our residents safe and gives our therapists treatment information in real time.”

Lisa Cecil

Vice President, Health Services, Christian Village Communities

The Health Collaborative is proud to honor Christian Village Communities as a nominee for the 2018 Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award for its work with Palarum on the PUP smart sock and embracing technology to enhance the care of its residents and future patients in our area.