Kiio (copy)

Kiio’s software provides exercise programs used in physical therapy, including to treat lower back pain.

Fitchburg startup Kiio is getting a double boost from WEA Trust, the not-for-profit Madison company that provides health insurance plans for public employers throughout Wisconsin.

Kiio is getting a $1 million investment from WEA Trust as well as a three-year contract to provide services designed to help people with lower back pain.

It’s the biggest partnership Kiio has received up to now, CEO Dave Grandin said.

“From our perspective, it’s huge,” Grandin said. “We’re very excited about it. It’s a testament to their belief … in our technology.”

Kiio’s wireless sensor measures muscle strength and endurance. Grandin said the technology can screen a patient to determine the type of back pain and offer the appropriate exercises to do at home to ease the pain.

It tracks the patient’s progress, records pain levels and will tell the patient to stop doing the exercises if they’re not working, he said.

Grandin said the program can help people with low back pain avoid surgery or unnecessary medication.

“Low back pain is the No. 1 reason for prescription opioids,” Grandin said.

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WEA Trust president and CEO Mike Quist said the partnership is part of the organization’s effort to offer members effective and affordable health care.

“We’re excited about Kiio because their individualized care solution transforms the way members interact with health care,” Quist said.

Grandin said WEA Trust plans to use Kiio’s platform to communicate with its members about other issues, as well. If the organization wants to provide generalized information to members with certain conditions, it can analyze claims and program data to identify people with those conditions — such as asthma or diabetes — and send them information through an app on their cellphones.

“Our platform is secure,” Grandin said. “It’s a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)-compliant way to communicate with their member base.”

Kiio has 16 employees, all in Fitchburg.

The company has raised $4.5 million so far, and convertible debt raises the total to $6 million. Grandin has said he plans to seek funds from venture capital firms in 2018.

Kiio also is working with the U.S. Department of Defense on a pilot project aimed at determining if an enlistee is likely to suffer chronic tendinopathy, and if so, to track how well the patient’s treatment is working.

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