TandemStride launches platform to assist survivors of traumatic injury; a personal look

A peer-support platform for those with life-altering injuries. TandemStride is an app for the use and support of those with traumatic injury. It is structured as a peer-to-peer platform to connect those who are injured–from amputations to head and spinal injuries–to mentors and others to share their experiences and connect to resources. The app, available for free on Google Play and the Apple App Store, matches patients with peers who have progressed well in their recovery, with guidance from the TandemStride Assistant. It also connects them with resources such as the Trauma Survivors Network, United Spinal Association, Amputee Coalition, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Local trauma centers can then connect to this national network.

Last week, this Editor had the opportunity to speak with their founder, Matt Kalina. How he came to develop TandemStride threads through health tech’s latest boom and bust cycle–and loops back to the motivation of most industry founders.  He is a veteran of the late Olive AI (post-mortem here) in the GTM (go-to-market) team, was one of their first employees, and one of the last to turn out the lights. After that too-much-too-soon roller coaster, he focused on something personal, beyond another job.

Matt’s brother had a bi-lateral amputation as a college student due to a train accident in 2012. His brother’s injury and recovery had its ups and downs, but he had the important and focused help of his mother, a nurse. This led to Matt looking at others with similar injuries, which are all too common. Psychiatrists, like your Editor’s brother, see many of them in everyday practice. Beyond the physical injuries, there is PTSD coupled with loss of employment and ordinary socialization due to lack of physical ability. One in four have PTSD. But with help, they can overcome. Today, Mark Kalina is married with children, a senior analyst for the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, and works with other traumatic injury survivors. ‘A Leg To Stand On’ on LinkedIn

We discussed the extent and the effect of traumatic injury. Globally, there are 140 million who experience one or more traumatic injuries. These disproportionately affect lower to middle-income and minority people. Based on claims analysis, an Ohio study found that 13% of Medicaid beneficiaries have had physical trauma in the prior year. Timing and quality of rehabilitation are vital to better outcomes, to recovering ability and gaining employment. But there are a lot of gaps not only in treatment but also in the total picture–moving the injured back to their ‘stride’ in life. One in five ‘recidivize’, according to Matt, which means they lose ground after recovery and can wind up back in acute care. Reducing that number is key not only to better individual outcomes, but also to reducing long-term costs to insurers and Medicaid.

As part of the launch, TandemStride, based in Cleveland, is partnered with Molina Healthcare to support members in Ohio recovering from traumatic injury. Collaborating with trauma-focused associations also provides them with technology they did not have before, according to Sue Prentiss, executive director of the American Trauma Society, home to the Trauma Survivors Network. 

What is disturbing is how on a national level, support and resources for traumatic injury haven’t been available or organized for the civilian population. Veterans have the VA and deep resources there, with delivery the problem. Yet we have maybe a dozen or more telemental health services jockeying for business, with a new entrant promising something unique every few months, an overpopulation of competitors similar to what happened more slowly in telehealth. In this Editor’s view, Matt’s technology and building a network of traumatic injury survivors right now is filling a wide gap in care and recovery, connecting fragmented resources, and through community, can boost their long-term outcomes. TandemStride launch release, Matt’s launch posting on LinkedIn

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