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Updated: October 19, 2023

MedRhythms debuts 'prescription music' device to improve walking in stroke patients

Medical device Photo / Courtesy of MedRhythms InTandem, developed by MedRhythms, is now available by prescription for adults with chronic stroke walking impairment. The device, shown here, includes sensors worn on shoes, a headset and a touchscreen device preloaded with the InTandem software.

Two years after MedRhythms joined forces with Universal Music Group NV, the Portland-based digital therapeutics startup has launched what it says is the world’s first “prescription music” device using recordings from Universal's extensive catalog.

The product, called InTandem, was released on Monday and is available by prescription for at-home use to improve walking and movement in chronic stroke patients. The neurorehabilitation system works by using music to unconsciously synchronize motor and auditory systems in the brain.

MedRhythms began developing InTandem in 2016 and received breakthrough designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2020. In June 2023, the product was designated as a prescription only-class II medical device by the FDA, paving the way for commercialization. 

Photo / Renee Cordes
Brian Harris, at the Maine Biomedical Innovation and Technology conference Wednesday in Portland.

“I’m excited that InTandem will provide an option for access to important care and that it will be available to patients in their homes,” Brian Harris, MedRhythms’ CEO and co-founder, said in Monday’s announcement.

“This is an important moment for stroke survivors and for MedRhythms as we begin the next phase of our journey to help people in need.”

Harris, a board-certified music therapist, and fellow co-founder Owen McCarthy were honored on the Mainebiz Next List in 2018 for their contributions to Maine's economy. Today, the company employs 44 people.

On Wednesday at the Maine Biomedical Innovation and Technology conference in Portland hosted by Jackson Laboratory, Harris told attendees that InTandem’s release was a “really big day” for MedRhythms, which he described as a mission-driven startup.  

“We want to make an impact in the world and do it for Maine," he said.

More about InTandem

The InTandem system includes a headset, a touchscreen preloaded with software, and sensors worn on a patient's shoes. The system is manufactured in the U.S., with many kits being assembled in Portland, according to Brett Adelman, MedRhythms’ program and alliance lead.

He also said there is no intention to release InTandem as an app for retail purchase, and that the new device will only be available via prescription from a licensed health care provider.

“The out-of-pocket cost of InTandem will vary based on a patient’s health insurance,” he explained, adding that MedRhythms “is committed to working with patients and health care providers to help ensure InTandem is broadly available through health plan coverage and reimbursement.”

During the development phase, MedRhythms worked closely with people with chronic stroke, including through the formation of a patient advisory board.

Later this month, MedRhythms will demo InTandem at the annual conference of the American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine in Atlanta.

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