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SWORD Health: virtual physical therapy


“Sprains, tears and back pain are only a few of the musculoskeletal conditions (MSK) that cause disabilities that can ultimately turn life into a nightmare,” says Virgilio Bento, CEO and founder of SWORD Health, a company that seeks to help with recovery by acting a bit like a digital physiotherapist. “It’s not always easy to find the time to get to a physiotherapist. Now, imagine you could get your session done within a few clicks, in the palm of your hand.” This is what SWORD Health aims to provide: a tech-enabled physical therapy solution with a focus on MSK conditions.

”My brother had a car accident a few years ago and spent time in a deep coma. I saw the challenges that patients face when it comes to recovery. We have great technology at hand but MSK care is quite archaic, and it affects two billion people every year across the world. High quality MSK care is expensive and you need to make time for physiotherapy sessions. Both factors can make pursuing treatment difficult and that’s why we often see patients abandoning their sessions. And when that happens, they will likely turn to opioids for the pain, creating dependencies, or undergo surgery, half of which doesn’t actually resolve the problem either.”

SWORD Health is a virtual physical therapy solution pairing a patient with a doctor or physiotherapist. Patients can follow therapeutic sessions from the comfort of their home any time of the day. “You can get on with your physiotherapy in your pyjamas at 7am or at 11pm when the kids are in bed. It’s a set of wearable motion tracking devices that communicate wirelessly with the cloud, looping back 5000 impact feedback messages that allow the therapist to guide the patient from a distance. 30% of patients recover faster and better compared to onsite therapy.”

Launched in Europe and Australia and then, in 2020, also in the USA, SWORD Health benefitted from an equity investment from Faber, a venture capital firm backed by the EIF, that allowed the company to invest further in R&D and also make the step to commercialising the product. “The investment was crucial for us,” explains Virgilio. “Setting up the company has been a rollercoaster experience but we managed to become a flagship company in this domain. Our client base includes health systems, healthcare services, insurance companies and self-insured employers in the US – pretty much anyone who wants to provide cost-efficient high-quality care.”

Company: SWORD Health (Portugal)

Type of business: healthcare; ICT

EU-supported finance: Portugal Tech in partnership with BPF

Financial Intermediary: Faber

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Portugal, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/pt

Note: Following the recent withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, we are updating the relevant EIF.org pages.


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