The launch of the new & improved INNOVO Shorts, which is the latest non-invasive pelvic floor exerciser product from us here at Atlantic Therapeutics represents a milestone achievement, not just for our business, but for all of the customers that contributed to making the new technology a reality.
I sat down for a coffee & chat about the new INNOVO Shorts with Global Product Manager, Daniel Forde, to share the thinking behind the new product, how it came about, how it will work to help thousands restore bladder control, and why it’s easier to use than ever before.
Q: For those completely new to INNOVO, what is INNOVO and how does it work exactly?
INNOVO is a non-invasive way to restore your pelvic floor, treating the primary cause of urinary leaks rather than just masking the symptoms. Using a hand held controller that is attached to a pull on pair of shorts, Innovotherapy sends targeted impulses via conductive panels held in position on your upper thigh and buttocks to safely and effectively activate the muscles of the pelvic floor. It is a proven technology which has been designed to optimally strengthen your pelvic floor with 180 perfect contractions per session, allowing the device to do your pelvic floor exercises for you.
INNOVO directly targets the primary cause of the all-too common problem of bladder weakness, which is estimated to affect 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men – that’s hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Q: Tell us about the new INNOVO Shorts – how are they different to the original INNOVO product?
With the original version of INNOVO, we had heard so many positive stories from customers about the results they had achieved with the therapy, but we also knew that it could be a challenge to correctly position the wraps, particularly when using the device for the first time. Our aim with the Shorts was to simplify the user experience – what could be simpler than pulling on a pair of Shorts?
Q: What do you think customers will really love about the INNOVO Shorts?
For me, it’s a more intuitive solution – it really is so easy to use. It’s important to say that the therapy delivered by the Shorts is equivalent to that of the original INNOVO product - what we’ve been able to do with the Shorts is to greatly reduce the amount of time and difficulty involved in the set-up of the therapy.
One of the key features of the INNOVO Shorts is the integrated electrodes – we believe it’s the first time that this technology has been brought to market in a muscle stimulation device. What these allow us to do is to deliver Innovotherapy through a single, pull-on garment – so much simpler than having to position wraps with sticky gel pads around your upper thigh / buttock areas.
IMAGE: INNOVO Shorts turned inside out to display the integrated electrodes
Q: How did the idea for the INNOVO Shorts come about?
Something that I think we do very well at Atlantic Therapeutics is to speak with and listen to our customers. Innovotherapy has been available in one form or another since 2012, and we’re proud to say that we’ve helped tens of thousands of people to target the cause of their bladder weakness, rather than just mask the symptoms. We feel an enormous responsibility to our customers – they are putting their trust in us to provide them with a safe and effective therapy.
We listened to feedback from customers about how INNOVO could be even better and identified that the time to correctly position the wraps and gel pads was challenge to having a positive experience with the device, particularly for that all-important first use. We also spend a lot of time looking at new technologies, and how we can apply those to improve INNOVO. From this we came up with what we think is a game-changing solution to the problem of bladder weakness.
Q: What’s involved in developing such a uniquely patented & complex technology?
It’s been an interesting process. We very quickly hit upon the idea of using conductive panels integrated into a pair of cycling style shorts, and from there the challenge became how to bring that idea into reality. As INNOVO is a medical device, the product development process is very well regulated, so our customers can be assured that the product has been rigorously tested to the highest standards.
Q: How has it felt personally to see the product come to life?
It’s been such a rewarding challenge to be part of the team working on this innovation. Some moments resonate very powerfully – I remember speaking with a user of the original INNOVO at our first feedback session with the Shorts, and hearing how she spent up to 20 minutes a night trying to correctly position the wraps and gel pads – for me, that really highlighted the importance of the Shorts to the user experience.
Q: Aside from yourself, who was involved in helping make the INNOVO Shorts become a reality?
Everyone! We’re so lucky to have such a passionate and experienced team at Atlantic Therapeutics, who are devoted to serving our customers. We’re in daily contact with INNOVO users through our customer care team and our social media platforms, and we take great care to understand the feedback we receive - so much of this product is owed to those who have shared their insights with us about their experience with the product. We also had the advantage of working with world-leading experts in the treatment of bladder weakness, such as Dr Ruth Maher of Creighton University.
I think the standout moments for me during the development process were the genuinely positive and enthusiastic responses to our user feedback sessions – the real test of any product is how people react to it.
Q: What’s it like operating in the Fem Tech/ Med Tech space in 2018?
I think one of the most positive societal trends of recent times has been a willingness to challenge health taboos. We’ve seen this in mental health, sexual health and other areas, and I believe that we’re helping to bring the issue of bladder weakness to light also. For too long, it’s been generally accepted that this condition is simply part of ageing, but I think that women and men aren’t happy to simply put up with it any more. People are living healthier lives for longer, they’re more informed about their health, and they’re much more likely to address any problems directly. For us, it’s about how we can deliver solutions such as INNOVO that meet the high expectations that customers have in helping them to achieve and maintain their desired outcomes.
A phrase that’s often used is ‘Fem Tech’, for me it’s an interesting one - after all, 50% of the global population is female – it’s human tech. I do think that for far, far too long, women’s healthcare needs haven’t been given the focus that they deserve. When you think of the unique healthcare challenges that a woman may face throughout her life, it’s heartening to see the current rapid growth in differentiated healthcare solutions. Women and men alike are looking for safe, effective, and clinically proven solutions to maintain their health, so for us, it’s important that we continue to refine our technology, build the evidence base in favour of its use, and ensure we are providing good quality information so that customers can make an informed decision on whether INNOVO is right for them.
Q: What’s next for INNOVO?
We’re in the fortunate position of having a strong, passionate, dedicated team and a vocal, engaged and growing customer base. Together with our strong product portfolio, I think we’re in a good position for the future. It’s so important that we keep listening and learning. Our mission is an ambitious one - to enable millions of people each year to restore their pelvic floor, and thereby restore their control, confidence and active lifestyle – and we’ll continue to strive towards that.
INNOVO Shorts are available now and are suitable for use by women & men of all ages. With INNOVO Shorts, it’s easier than ever before to treat the root cause of leaks. So rather than putting up with a lifetime of pads, enjoy life more! Take back control, with INNOVO Shorts.