When exploring gaps in the sports injury market, we started by looking at the current offerings. And disappointing doesn’t quite cover it!
What’s available now?
There were sports injury websites with info on a selection of diagnoses (much like this site). But you needed to know your diagnosis. Otherwise you’d find yourself endlessly sifting thru injuries, thinking “well that kinda sounds like mine, but not quite”.
Then there were sites that could triage (or classify) concerning injuries, such as the Australian Government’s HealthDirect symptom checker. They’re better than simple info sites but they’ve got some significant limitations and very poor accuracy.
A 2015 study by the good folks at Harvard found that the most popular symptom checkers got the diagnosis right only one third of the time.
In fact, they had the right diagnosis in their top 20 options in just over 50% of cases!
The page is designed to figure out if you need a hospital, but that’s it. Helpful if you’re experiencing chest pain or dizziness. But for sports injuries, it just tells you to stay at home and look after yourself. No diagnosis. And certainly no rehab.
What can be improved?
Now I’m not being critical of the above symptom checker. It serves a great purpose for serious medical issues. But what’s surprising is that no one has done better than a triage style system for musculoskeletal injury. We have smart lights at home, smart apps for social media and smart cars on their way very shortly. But for sports injuries, nothing.
And it’s not like the demand isn’t there. It’s hard to put an exact number of worldwide sports injuries per year – they don’t have to be reported and most don’t seek medical advice. But if we narrow the area down to just the USA, where there is a reporting system in place. And we narrow the population to children under 14, when injuries are mostly registered for tracking and insurance. That subgroup in just one country has 3.5 million sports injuries per year!!!
So there’s our niche. Bringing the latest artificial intelligence to your smart phone, to address the need of online diagnostic and rehab information without all the guess work. It’s a big job so we’re going to start with lower back and lower limb injuries. We may need to narrow it further to certain sports but we’re shooting for all sports at this stage.