Refining diagnostics “Dynamics beat statics”
From 100 to 1,000 analyses per year – Christopher Mayer started with the Center for Movement Analysis at Schneider & Piecha in 2011. Today, his customer base ranges from toddlers with orthopedic problems to competitive athletes.
life: In November, the Center for Movement Analysis will have its 10th anniversary. What is the story behind the company’s history?
Christopher Mayer: Even during my training to become an orthotist, I was intensely involved with biomechanics, and as an athlete – mid to long-distance triathlon – I’m inherently interested in the optimization of movement sequences.
After master school, I wanted to specialize so that I could expand the range of prevention and pain therapy at
Schneider & Piecha.
What was needed to get that going?
Christopher Mayer: The space was there, but we had to modify the rooms to fit a treadmill, camera, and later a gait track. Then we needed the software for the biomechanical analyses. Marcel Kempf, my fellow student who is also a movement analyst, joined us and developed the training program. Our employees were committed from the beginning, and we provided further education where necessary.
But it really took perseverance. In the beginning, demand was low. After all, what athlete goes to a medical supply retailer? First, we carried out only around 100 movement analyses per year. It’s now gone up to about 1,000. That’s shared out between the treadmill and gait track.
Now we’re also doing bike fitting, meaning adjusting the bike to the cyclist. For this, we equipped a separate room with the relevant technology, in cooperation with our partner Jens Machacek. A waiting list of six to eight weeks for appointments shows us that there’s demand for this.
That gives you a customer base which is a little unusual for a medical supply retailer…
Christopher Mayer: Yes, I’d even go so far as saying that we’re thinking beyond the classic medical supply retail store. Orthopedic technology has a lot more to offer than prosthetics and orthotics. From amateur to professional sports, we have expertise in all age ranges and are even currently preparing some cycling pros for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. All in all, we support around 60 percent of patients with orthopedic issues and 40 percent from sports.
How did you find and reach out to your target market for movement analysis?
Christopher Mayer: We became properly known through word-of-mouth. Social networks were vital for us, especially in sports. We attended trade fairs. And, of course, we work closely with physicians and physical therapists. Patient interest generally exists and is actually increasing. Usually, during the consultation, when a customer visits with a prescription for foot orthoses, it just so happens that we also make an appointment for movement analysis because: dynamics beat statics.
What sort of feedback do you get from physicians?
Christopher Mayer: Our services are unique in this region. Physicians sometimes like to use them for extended diagnostics.
If the scans are normal, they recommend a biomechanical check to some patients. Afterwards, they’ll get a report from us that might help with finding the causes. We will look at the muscles as well as leg and foot axes and give our recommendation to the physician and patient whether physiotherapy, specific training or a medical aid may be useful.
What benefits does the Center for Movement Analysis have for the company as a whole?
Christopher Mayer: High-quality measurement and analysis technology is really important because it leaves us more time for patients and for consultation. Follow-up care is also crucial for us to build customer loyalty. The follow-up appointment takes place six weeks after performing the diagnostics: what’s the pain like, is the treatment helping, is the customer happy? And after six months, we’ll do the final check. This may lead to the patient needing a new medical aid, but not necessarily. We usually see our customers again to supply follow-up products. Some customers have been coming to us for ten years.
How does your service help with compliance?
Christopher Mayer: When we’re supporting patients, we’re creating a modern all-round program that customers enjoy using and that is convincing. Some people are startled when they see larger braces in particular. But if the analysis can show measurable improvements, trust and compliance will increase. This is very clear during follow-up checks.
Image: Michael Bause