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MedTech venture OPUM Technologies invents the digital knee

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14 July 2021

A medical device and AI business grounded in research from the University of Auckland is running at pace with the success of its first product, the Digital Knee®.  

OPUM Technologies Limited optimises care pathways for musculoskeletal conditions, delivering remote patient monitoring to patients with knee conditions. Their offering incorporates both product and service, with wearable technology and virtual therapy from clinical staff who support patients through their care journey. OPUM CEO, inventor and Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering Dr Andrew McDaid says “We manage peoples knee health by collecting previously unattainable real-time data and using AI to glean insights that drive improved decision making by healthcare providers and insurers. This ensures the best care is delivered in a timely and cost effective manner.”  

OPUM is laser-focused on knee health. The potential for this market is expansive, ranging from sports injuries in athletes through to addressing chronic knee pain due to arthritis. Musculoskeletal conditions are the cause of some of the largest healthcare costs in the US, at over $300 billion per annum. Andrew says “The  market is rapidly growing with the aging and overweight population trends. It is the most over-serviced of all health sectors because the conditions are complex and care is currently delivered in a very subjective manner. We have identified that specific knee data is essential to control these exploding costs and optimise what, when, where, why and how different interventions are delivered to patients. While we work with pro athletes, our platform makes this elite sports grade technology available to the mass market. ” 

Andrew gained many of his entrepreneurship skills as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Auckland. He participated in the University’s free Velocity entrepreneurship programme in 2016 and has had further support from his department, faculty and the University’s stand-alone commercialisation company UniServices. Andrew says “The University provides an unbelievable level of support for entrepreneurship. It creates a safe environment to experiment and take risks which you might not otherwise be able to take. In an ongoing manner the ability to leverage expertise and collaborations with colleagues and university access provides a huge value and credibility to your business. I would encourage staff and students to push the boundaries. Being in the University environment allows you to push further than your competitors with reduced risk. This is a massive competitive advantage.”

Andrew comes from a competitive sports background, where he developed skills and attitudes that have been helpful in building a high-performance team of more than 20. He says a key part of leading a start-up is not only developing a strong team, but learning to grow as a leader. “My advice is to surround yourself with strong mentors that will be honest with you, and then be strong enough to personally learn from that feedback, especially when not positive. The learning curve has been very steep (and that’s what I love!). The further I develop, the more different I realise building a business is from undertaking research. You absolutely need a completely different mindset and set of skills to transition from a researcher into a successful business person. One of the biggest lessons for researchers is understanding how to navigate the roadmap to move from a technology to a product to a business” 

OPUM is now in a growth phase where they are scaling their Digital Knee® product across the US market, with their US-based sales and marketing team as well as through sales and distribution partners. Their mission is to manage people’s knee health and  be synonymous with knee conditions, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs to healthcare systems. The team aims to later grow into new geographies and address a wider range of musculoskeletal conditions. 

Andrew says “Every time we create a new job and onboard new patients I am extremely proud of what we have achieved at OPUM. I love that all our employees own a part of the business and how together we strive to improve the lives of our customers, who are often suffering debilitating pain that significantly impacts their quality of life.”

Velocity Team 2020
Velocity Team 2020

social media

14 July 2021

A medical device and AI business grounded in research from the University of Auckland is running at pace with the success of its first product, the Digital Knee®.  

OPUM Technologies Limited optimises care pathways for musculoskeletal conditions, delivering remote patient monitoring to patients with knee conditions. Their offering incorporates both product and service, with wearable technology and virtual therapy from clinical staff who support patients through their care journey. OPUM CEO, inventor and Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering Dr Andrew McDaid says “We manage peoples knee health by collecting previously unattainable real-time data and using AI to glean insights that drive improved decision making by healthcare providers and insurers. This ensures the best care is delivered in a timely and cost effective manner.”  

OPUM is laser-focused on knee health. The potential for this market is expansive, ranging from sports injuries in athletes through to addressing chronic knee pain due to arthritis. Musculoskeletal conditions are the cause of some of the largest healthcare costs in the US, at over $300 billion per annum. Andrew says “The  market is rapidly growing with the aging and overweight population trends. It is the most over-serviced of all health sectors because the conditions are complex and care is currently delivered in a very subjective manner. We have identified that specific knee data is essential to control these exploding costs and optimise what, when, where, why and how different interventions are delivered to patients. While we work with pro athletes, our platform makes this elite sports grade technology available to the mass market. ” 

Andrew gained many of his entrepreneurship skills as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Auckland. He participated in the University’s free Velocity entrepreneurship programme in 2016 and has had further support from his department, faculty and the University’s stand-alone commercialisation company UniServices. Andrew says “The University provides an unbelievable level of support for entrepreneurship. It creates a safe environment to experiment and take risks which you might not otherwise be able to take. In an ongoing manner the ability to leverage expertise and collaborations with colleagues and university access provides a huge value and credibility to your business. I would encourage staff and students to push the boundaries. Being in the University environment allows you to push further than your competitors with reduced risk. This is a massive competitive advantage.”

Andrew comes from a competitive sports background, where he developed skills and attitudes that have been helpful in building a high-performance team of more than 20. He says a key part of leading a start-up is not only developing a strong team, but learning to grow as a leader. “My advice is to surround yourself with strong mentors that will be honest with you, and then be strong enough to personally learn from that feedback, especially when not positive. The learning curve has been very steep (and that’s what I love!). The further I develop, the more different I realise building a business is from undertaking research. You absolutely need a completely different mindset and set of skills to transition from a researcher into a successful business person. One of the biggest lessons for researchers is understanding how to navigate the roadmap to move from a technology to a product to a business” 

OPUM is now in a growth phase where they are scaling their Digital Knee® product across the US market, with their US-based sales and marketing team as well as through sales and distribution partners. Their mission is to manage people’s knee health and  be synonymous with knee conditions, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs to healthcare systems. The team aims to later grow into new geographies and address a wider range of musculoskeletal conditions. 

Andrew says “Every time we create a new job and onboard new patients I am extremely proud of what we have achieved at OPUM. I love that all our employees own a part of the business and how together we strive to improve the lives of our customers, who are often suffering debilitating pain that significantly impacts their quality of life.”


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