Feb 9, 2023
Smartphone app empowers scoliosis patients to manage the condition
Momentum Health, a new digital health app backed by the AO’s innovation funding, empowers scoliosis patients by giving them and their physicians a radiation-free tool for remotely screening and monitoring for the condition while at the same time delivering efficiency gains for a health care system under pressure.
Successful management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), a lateral spinal curvature that impacts 2% to 3% globally, is linked to early detection via close monitoring of the spine. For patients, that means two full-length spinal x-rays every six months, yet only 10 percent of patients will require intervention; the remaining 90 percent are subjected to unnecessary radiation exposure. Beyond reducing AIS patients’ radiation exposure, Momentum Health’s new app will empower patients to take charge of monitoring the progression of their condition and eliminate unnecessary visits to the doctor, thereby relieving on an already overburdened health care system.
Momentum Health is the brainchild of Evan Dimentberg, medical student at Université Laval (Quebec City, Canada), who in 2018 spent a two-week internship with AO Technical Commission Spine member Jean Ouellet, MD, looking into and understanding scoliosis management practice.
He began medical school in 2019 and, just a year later, had extra time on his hands due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I began looking into innovation in medicine and reading a lot about digital health,” said Dimentberg. “My mind turned to scoliosis because I had some basic knowledge on the topic from my time with Dr Ouellet. I wrote down my idea for tracking patients remotely to prevent serial scoliosis follow-ups and for radiation-free monitoring—without any specifics on how I would do that.”