Solving New Zealand's $48M Re-injury Problem

Tobias Hoeta & Andreas Hirczy

Startup Dunedin Podcast #009

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ACC spends $48 million on re-injury claims for knee, ankle and lower back injuries alone.
— Tobias Hoeta

When Physiotherapy students, Tobias Hoeta and Andreas Hirczy were sent on placement they came home to their flat telling each other a very similar story. Their patients frequently didn’t complete their prescribed exercises and were hot on the path to re-injury. Many of their classmates and the physiotherapists they spoke to had the exact same problem. After a little digging, Toby and Dre discovered that ACC was spending approximately $48 million on re-injury claims each year.

There had to be a better way.

Toby and Dre won Best Business Case at Audacious Semester One 2019. They have developed a concept to increase patient adherence to exercise prescriptions. They joined Angus on the podcast to discuss their journey so far.

Why do people typically not complete their exercises?

Andreas: The main things are that they forget, have a lack motivation or, don’t understand how to complete the exercises. Some clinics still just give out a picture on a piece of paper with stick figures on it and for a patient that doesn’t have the health literature it can be difficult to understand what to do.

What advice would you give someone thinking of doing Audacious?

Andreas: If you have an idea, just go for it. If there’s a problem you’re passionate about solving don’t hold back. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Toby: And Audacious is a good place to start because it takes you step by step each week. It get’s you on the right path and gets you to ask the right questions.

How was pitching at FoundX?

...just pitch whenever you can.
— Tobias Hoeta

Toby: You probably couldn’t tell, but I was pretty nervous. Shaking in the crowd, went had a nervous pee, but it actually turned out alright.

We ended up receiving a package from 2Degrees which was cool and heaps of connections. So some advice there would be just pitch whenever you can.

Andreas: Even if you’re not sure it’s something that’s going to benefit you, just do it. There might be people in the room that have exactly what you’re missing.

What would you do differently if you could start all over again?

Tobias: More validation at the start. We did a little bit at the start of Audacious but because we were so busy on placement we started to rely on what we thought rather than what was actually the case.

Andreas: More testing and experimenting of our assumptions. It’s really easy when talking to people to just give them the solution first. You might go “Oh look we’ve got this app for physiotherapy.” and they go “Yeah, great. It’s really good.” and you’re like “Good!” and that’s pretty much the extent of your conversation. It’s better if we take a step back and say “We’re looking to improve the way exercises are given to patients in physiotherapy".” it opens the conversation - it’s a lot more productive.

Next time I’d like to come in with just our problem. Not come in with our solution. Then use a programme like Audacious to come up with the solution.

What message do you want our audience to takeaway?

Tobias: Tell your physio about us! Get them thinking about us. We need everyone to do it because it needs to be a national change for us to have the impact we want to have.

You can reach Toby and Dre through their Facebook page.

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