Alex Haslehurst is the co-founder at Musculoskeletal Health Startup, Vitrue Health which was launched with the aim to empower clinicians with the tools they need to improve musculoskeletal assessments and diagnoses. Alex has completed her Mechanical Engineering from Cambridge University, and it was during her university when she first became interested in biomechanics. After completing university, she started working at a blood diagnostics startup.
While working at a blood diagnostics startup, she realized that she can make a real difference in the healthcare sector by combining mechanical and biomedical engineering expertise. And that is when everything started. The technology has been developed by combining expertise in engineering and physiotherapy. It accurately tracks and measures patients’ movements during physiotherapy assessments while making it easier for clinicians to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions. Also, patients can track and engage with their own progress over the course of treatment through this technology.
The foundations on which Vitrue's technology was developed, are based on Alex's professional experience in the Engineering sector. The other co-founders are also from engineering backgrounds, and it helped them understand the technical details of the product in a detailed manner.
Musculoskeletal Health Startup: Vitrue Health
Launched in 2018, Vitrue Health uses cutting-edge clinical, biomechanics, and motion capture technology provides full-body biomechanics assessments of motor function in 5 minutes. The founders have also built an AI programme that you can use via your laptop’s webcam. The programme assesses your desk set-up and suggests simple improvements to make your space healthier and more ergonomic. It measures things like the height and distance between your eyes and your laptop screen, the level of natural light in the room, and your seated weight distribution which we generally tend to ignore.
Alex was well aware that musculoskeletal healthcare was still relying on eyesight to diagnose patients, and the technology to deliver accurate diagnosis and track treatment didn’t exist. She started working on the first diagnostic tool for musculoskeletal healthcare after meeting Vitrue Health’s other co-founder Shane.
They developed the technology, and it was well-received by physiotherapists and patients, which motivated them to continue to grow Vitrue. And by the passing years, they refine the diagnostic tools and develop more advanced technology.
How does Vitrue Function?
Vitrue collects repeatable data about a patient's motor function during tests like sit to stand, 180 degree turns, and standing and sitting balance. When the data is collected, it further detects and highlights changes in a patient's functional ability before even the patient notices. Moving on it informs rehabilitation plans or proves the efficacy of new interventions by detecting every small improvement or decline in core strength, range of motion, or balance.
Apart from that, the software also provides inputs for contextual information such as environmental/social details, ADLs, and cognitive function. All the collected information is automatically and instantly output in clear and visual reports. Based on every detail, it will produce a bespoke report outlining practical tips and exercises to optimise your set-up for productivity and good posture.
Advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs
Alex Hasehurst is inspiring many aspiring women entrepreneurs. She says that women often put pressure on themselves to be ‘non-threatening’ and ‘likable’ in a way that men rarely do. They are always taught to be more likely to compromise, avoid risk, and diffuse confrontation. But, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to accept that your job is not to keep everyone happy.
You should focus on your company’s goals, and use your unique skills and experience to build your business and achieve the company’s mission. This does not come inside you overnight, but once you start thinking about your goal, you push yourself in developing these skills. Once you stop holding yourself back and worrying about opinions, you will get the confidence to handle things beautifully. From pitching to a boardroom of investors or a conference hall of customers or setting product priorities when you know that you deserve the same respect as others and that you know what you’re talking about, you’ll make others see it too.
As a female engineer that too from a mechanical background Alex has often been in the minority and this mantra has helped her throughout life. She always challenged herself by putting herself in difficult positions and developed the self-confidence that made her a better entrepreneur.
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