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End of sale for new SwallowSTRONG Systems

We would like to thank all of the clinicians and supporters who helped make the SwallowSTRONG System a clinical success. Per our previous communication, we have now stopped accepting orders for new SwallowSTRONG Systems. We will continue to support our existing customers with mouthpieces, spare parts, technical support, and clinical support.
 
Stay tuned for new products sometime in the future…
 
We wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

SwallowSTRONG System Update

Regretfully, we will stop accepting orders for new SwallowSTRONG Systems after November 15, 2017. We will, however, continue to support the SwallowSTRONG product line, including selling mouthpieces and spare parts and providing technical and clinical support, for as long as there is reasonable demand.

Swallow Solutions cares deeply about helping individuals with dysphagia. The company is backed by a passionate group of investors who are committed to supporting you and your patients. The company will continue to operate, with a focus on commercializing new innovations in dysphagia treatment. We hope to launch a new oropharyngeal strengthening device at some point in the future.

The clinical outcomes realized with the SwallowSTRONG System continue to be very positive. Unfortunately, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently informed us that they will not create product-specific billing codes for oropharyngeal strengthening devices. This decision, which follows more than two years of discussions with the agency, essentially prevents direct reimbursement for the product by any payers—Medicare or private insurance. Lack of reimbursement, in turn, means that the devices are not accessible to the majority of dysphagic patients. Under these conditions, it is not economically viable to continue manufacturing and selling SwallowSTRONG Systems.

There is no limit on the number of new SwallowSTRONG Systems that may be ordered between now and November 15. We encourage those of you who have experienced success with the SwallowSTRONG System to order more systems during this period. Again, we will continue to meet your future needs for new mouthpieces, technical support, and clinical support.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.

Sincerely yours,

 

Eric H. Horler

President and CEO

Swallow Solutions

ehorler@swallowsolutions.com

VIDEO: SwallowSTRONG Patient Testimonial

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, impacts a wide range of patients. Swallowing problems often occur in patients with weak lingual musculature, but can also be caused by stroke, Parkinson’s Disease or cancers of the head and neck.

Mark, a head and neck cancer survivor, is one such patient. After being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he began to encounter swallowing problems. He found it harder and harder to swallow, and often found that he would aspirate, or have things he swallowed go down the wrong pipe, straight into his lungs.

Then Mark found treatment with the SwallowSTRONG System. In the video below, Mark describes his positive experience with the SwallowSTRONG therapy solution.

Check out Mark’s story:

For more information, visit swallowsolutions.com

CASE STUDY: Patient with Aneurysm and Severe Dysphagia has G-tube Removed After Using SwallowSTRONG

The patient, “John” has lived in a skilled nursing facility in Texas since suffering a large aneurysm. For 2.5 years, John received all nutrition via a G-tube. The speech pathologist, Emily –  employed by Rehab Synergies – had worked with John before, but was able to pick him back up on caseload when she got the SwallowSTRONG System. The SwallowSTRONG technology allowed for a new and more systematic approach to oropharyngeal strengthening.

At the start of therapy with the SwallowSTRONG, John was barely able to move his tongue. Under the excellent direction of Emily, he progressively strengthened his swallowing muscles, and is now able to eat orally and had the G-tube removed. 

Emily reported, “The patient and family loved seeing the progress in real time with the user interface as well as the progress printouts from the SwallowSTRONG Management System. SwallowSTRONG allowed us to push for maximum improvement and validated that patient was making progress. It’s definitely a great product to have in your therapy arsenal, especially after seeing the impact it made on such a severe case.”

John, his family,Emily and the team are all celebrating these significant improvements in swallowing safety and quality of life!

Recognizing Swallowing Problems in People with Dementia

Dysphagia is a serious issue regardless of other conditions the person may have. It can lead to serious health consequences, like malnutrition, aspiration pneumonia, and reduced quality of life.

But the condition can be even more difficult for people with dementia, and diagnosing a swallowing problem in a demented person can be difficult. Dementia patients may have difficulty communicating, or may forget that they have issues with swallowing food or drink.

How can clinicians or caretakers guard against dysphagia in patients with dementia?

Here are some subtle signs that may indicate a swallowing problem:

  • Coughing during eating
  • Constant clearing of the throat
  • Grimaces or painful expression during eating
  • Holding food in the side of the mouth
  • Spitting out food
  • Drooling while eating
  • Eating too fast
  • Unexpected weight lost
  • Wet, gurgle or hoarse-sounding voice
  • Touching the upper chest or throat when eating
  • Taking too much time to eat
  • Sorting, arranging, or playing with food
  • Excessive chewing, but no swallowing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose

(Click here for more suggestions on recognizing, diagnosing and treating dysphagia in demented patients).

Swallow Solutions offers an innovative dysphagia treatment device called the SwallowSTRONG. The device strengthens the muscles involved in the swallow, and can help some people regain their ability to swallow. And, it’s so intuitive, patients with dementia have had success with the device.

Congratulations to Barb Cook for 35 Years of Service!

Swallow Solutions is pleased to congratulate Barb Cook, M.S., CCC-SP for 35 years of service in the speech pathology department at the Edwards Hines Jr. VA Hospital.

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Throughout her career, Barb has helped many patients with swallowing problems, and has recently helped bring SwallowSTRONG therapy to dysphagia patients.

The Hines VA is a T21 demonstration SwallowSTRONG clinic site, and helps to bring a multidisciplinary approach to dysphagia patients.

Barb was recognized for her service with a ceremony, where colleagues and a former patient gathered to honor her.

Congratulations again on 35 years of helping speech pathology patients!

How SSMS Makes Dysphagia Treatment Easier

For patients with difficulty swallowing (also known as dysphagia) SwallowSTRONG from Swallow Solutions can provide the strengthening therapy needed to regain the ability to swallow, and with it the ability to eat and drink normally.

The SwallowSTONG Management System (SSMS) is the perfect companion software to SwallowSTRONG. SSMS is a cloud-based system that allows for clinicians using SwallowSTRONG to treat dysphagia to track relevant patient data, making patient care quantifiable and easy to manage.

And SSMS is completely HIPAA compliant–no protected health information is ever collected or stored on the SwallowSTRONG device or on the SSMS.

Here’s how you can apply SSMS to make caring for your patients easier than ever.

Remotely view patient progress and reports

In some use cases, patents take SwallowSTRONG home with them to continue their therapy course between meetings with their speech language pathologist.

With SSMS, after each therapy course, data showing overall patient progress is automatically uploaded to a database that’s accessible to the clinician wherever they can reach the internet. That means that patients and clinicians no longer need to be in the same room for clinicians to see how patients are doing.

Monitor adherence

Therapy can’t work if a patient doesn’t do it. But SSMS allows clinicians to view how regularly patients are performing their prescribed therapy treatment.

Performance data from each therapy session is uploaded to SSMS automatically.

Remotely adjust therapy parameters

With SSMS, clinicians can make adjustments to the therapy remotely, making targets easier or more challenging depending on the situation.

If one patient is performing particularly well on her prescribed targets, and is no longer building strength at that level, a clinician using SSMS will be able to see that. In that situation, it may be appropriate to increase therapy targets, making the therapy more challenging so the patient continues to build strength.

On the flip side, if a patient is having a difficult time with a prescribed therapy, a clinician can adjust therapy targets down, so that that patient doesn’t become discouraged.

Download therapy data for analysis and report writing

Clinicians can evaluate a patient’s treatment simply by downloading all of the available patient data. Track ups and downs, increases in strength, and overall effectiveness of the treatment all through easy-to-read charts and graphs.

Learn more about SSMS and SwallowSTRONG by contacting Swallow Solutions

 

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Swallow Solutions Investor BrightStar Wins Innovation Award

We’d like to congratulate and celebrate our friends (and investors) at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc., who announced earlier this week that they had been recognized by the Wisconsin Innovation Awards. Check out their full press release on the award below:

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 29, 2015BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. today announced that it has been recognized by the Wisconsin Innovation Awards organization (WIA) for the foundation’s innovative work in the nonprofit sector. The awards ceremony took place on Aug. 18 at Discovery World in Milwaukee, and was presented by American Family Insurance and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause. WIA seeks to celebrate and inspire innovation by highlighting and honoring the development of groundbreaking and innovative ideas. It hopes to encourage an even greater environment of innovation throughout Wisconsin.

BrightStar also announced that its investment committee has authorized funding for four additional early-stage Wisconsin companies. The Wisconsin based companies receiving BrightStar investments are SteelGlaze Inc., Wausau; EmOpti Inc., Brookfield; Quietyme Inc., Neshkoro; and Bright Cellars Inc., Milwaukee.

“We were pleased to have our first co-investments with four prominent Wisconsin funding sources,” said Todd Sobotka, BrightStar’s portfolio manager. The lead investors, respectively, were N29 Capital Partners, a newly formed fund in north central Wisconsin, the Golden Angels Network, American Family Ventures, and CSA Partners.

The addition of these four investments brings the number of companies in the foundation’s portfolio to 26. The new investments total $660,000, bringing the total invested by the foundation since it started in February 2014 to more than $3.75 million.

“We have been looking forward to our first investment in Marathon County,” said Lorrie Keating, BrightStar’s vice president, “because we have two Wausau-based foundations, the Judd S. Alexander Foundation and the Dudley Foundation, that are BrightStar benefactors. We are making an extra effort to deploy these funds in their backyard. We were successful in doing so with our investment in SteelGlaze. This investment, and the one we made in the Neshkoro-based Quietyme, proves that there are opportunities for economic development statewide.”

Infinity Rehab Mountain Symposium

Swallow Solutions will be at the Infinity Rehab Mountain Symposium coming up this weekend in Denver, Colorado.

The Symposium offers continuing education for Infinity Rehab employees and other professional therapists. We’re expecting about 800-1000 people to be in attendance. Will you be one of them? If so, be sure to pay us a visit and catch our founder, Dr. JoAnne Robbins as she gives her course on Dysphagia Intervention.

From the course teaser: “This course will review currently understood neural circuitry involved in stroke, head and neck cancers neurodegenerative diseases including dementia, aging and frailty. Treatment interventions will be presented from the bottom-up and top-down perspectives for systematically approaching dysphagia treatment.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Symposium and its courses, check out more teasers here.

Dysphagia Research Society Annual Meeting #DRS2015

This week, Swallow Solutions will be in attendance at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Dysphagia Research Society in Chicago.

Beginning with the post-graduate course on Wednesday, March 11, and continuing until the meeting adjourns on Saturday, March 14, members of the Swallow Solutions team will be available to discuss lingual strengthening with the SwallowSTRONG device, and it’s applications in different healthcare settings.

If you plan to be at the event, swing by and visit us! We look forward to seeing you! And if you’re not going to be able to make it, be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, we’ll be posting throughout the event.