Hinge Health consolidates into a digital musculoskeletal care giant

The news: Digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care startup Hinge Health acquired Wrnch—which provides advanced computer vision tech for tracking human motion. The new tech will allow Hinge to implement even more precise tracking of movement for its digital physical therapy programs.

Market snapshot: MSK companies like Hinge Health are using computer vision tracking to make their virtual physical therapy programs as effective as in-person therapy.

  • Omada Health offers an app-based physical therapy consultation platform, and earlier this year, it launched a computer vision-powered tool that helps physical therapists measure a patient’s movement and range of motion remotely.
  • Kaia Health published a peer-reviewed clinical study in July that demonstrated its computer vision tech-based MSK digital therapies is on par with physical therapists’ clinical instruction.
  • And most recently, Google partnered with digital MSK startup Include Health to develop an AI-driven virtual physical therapy program that calculates whether a patient is performing their exercise correctly.

What’s next for Hinge Health? It's been amassing partnerships and using acquisitions to elbow into every corner of digital MSK care—which could help it score more partnerships with employers and insurers seeking to curb their share of spending on chronic pain treatment.

  • In April, Hinge Health partnered with digital surgical marketplace Carrum Health to bundle their services into a higher-value benefits package for employers.
  • And in March, it scooped up Enso, an app-based wearable that delivers electrical stimulation to relax patients’ muscles.

Employers have to spend a ton on chronic pain management—something they’re seeking to curb by bloating their health benefits packages with tools that help enrollees manage conditions like MSK:

  • US employers collectively spend over $20 billion annually addressing employees’ MSK conditions.
  • And 70% of US employees say the transition to remote work has made their MSK conditions worse.