Lightening Physical Therapy Loads
After watching her daughter endure painful gait and balance rehabilitation during her recovery from a motorcycle accident in 2011, one of MHI member Gorbel’s employees approached President and CEO Brian Reh to suggest the company adapt its G-Force® overhead load handling technology and software for physical therapy use.
“As an organization that aggressively looks for ways to bring solutions to pain points, regardless of the industry, this employee was thinking beyond just being a mom who hated to see her child struggling,” explains Betty Dolce, general manager of Gorbel’s Medical Division.
“She saw as many as four therapists working with a single patient to unweight and protect them from falls. She noted that patient improvements were measured in archaic ways, like paint marking distances on the floor and stopwatches documenting speed,” continues Dolce. “To her, it was obvious that Gorbel’s G-Force technology could improve this process.”
After hearing these insights, Reh agreed that the idea appeared to have merit. The company first embarked on a six-month mission to gather more information—just as it would when tackling a unique industrial material handling challenge. Gorbel staffers researched and observed the interactions between therapists and patients at inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and more.
Based on that collected data, Gorbel began developing the rehabilitation lift concept into prototypes that leveraged the G-Force’s servo-driven motor technology and software. Over the next two years the company brought more than 100 therapists, administrators and patients into its in-house product development lab to provide feedback and insights about additional improvements.