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What is the cost of motion capture for the physical therapy clinic?

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

Traditional MOCAP vs. EuMotus markerless motion capture and analysis for PT clinics.


Skin in the game for traditional motion capture vendors.


Awesome! You are looking forward to establishing a competitive edge in servicing current patients better and attracting a greater stream of new patients.

So why get a motion capture and analysis system? As we’ve established there are many different types of systems, with trade-offs in accuracy, ease-of-use, and cost. There are a variety of applications of mocap. In this post, we will focus on the PT clinical operation application. If your needs are more in-line with high-fidelity biomechanics lab research application then traditional mocap is one of your best bets!

We will focus on the last two points - cost & utilization (directly influenced by ease-of-use) - in examining this motion analysis system purchasing guide for PT.

Download Your Free Cost of Motion Capture for Physical Therapy Ebook Below!

EuMotus motion analysis clinic business ROI

In the context of PT day-to-day clinic operations EuMotus has found that upon implementation of EuMotus BodyWatch (single 3D sensor markerless mocap), our system brings back clients for an additional two (2) visits per patient. This is a result of boosting engagement with instant video playback and concise and easy-to-understand visual scores of movement. So if your clinic sees 1000 unique patients per year, this would add 2*$100*1000 = $200’000 of revenue to your clinics top line!

Ok great, we’ve established the business benefit of the EuMotus system.

So how much does a mocap system cost?

A straightforward question leads to a somewhat complex answer since different motion capture and analysis offerings have a different price structure. We’ll breakdown this structure into three components: CAPEX + OPEX + Utilization. Short working definitions are:

CAPEX - capital up-front required to purchase a system. A comparison is buying your PT treatment table, aqua PT setup, or anti-gravity treadmill outright.

OPEX - subscription fees and labor costs required. A recurring cost example is a subscription (e.g. web-based PT EMR, internet, pt liability insurance etc.). Labor cost is simply the time required to run the system (tied to utilization).

Utilization is summed up in 2 simple questions. 1. Are you or your clinicians using the system? 2. How frequently are is your team using the system? The complexity of a system and its’ utility dictates utilization - time required to set up and calibrate the system (e.g. put on markers, calibrate etc.), time to run the screen, and finally, if required, time to perform any sort of post-processing and raw data digesting to get to actionable insights.

CAPEX. Traditional mocap systems run in the range of $50’000 to over $100’000. This likely involves multiple cameras, and/or markers/IMUs/wearables. You’ll find these systems in academic biomechanics labs in the research setting. While the gold standard in accuracy, there are operational issues in the context of clinical PT. This is covered in the OPEX section. For simplicity, we won’t take into account the real estate required to set up a traditional motion capture rig.

Download Your Free Cost of Motion Capture for Physical Therapy Ebook Below!

OPEX. There are two major components: subscription fees and the time & resources required to utilize a motion analysis system.

EuMotus’ business model is motion analysis as a service, similar to your Netflix or car insurance subscription on the order of several hundred/month. No CAPEX is involved (we do require a deposit for the hardware that we supply). Contact us for a detailed quote.

On why we believe subscription offers superior value to the PT clinic

We aim to align not only our incentives, but more importantly our disincentives with yours. That is if you are not using our system, and if it’s not useful to you (we would hate for this to happen), you would end your subscription and return the system to us.

Skin in the game to us is the sharing of rewards goes hand-in-hand with the sharing of risks. Our skin in the game (Taleb, 2018) is the option for you to cancel your subscription. We share in the risk if you do not use our system, or do not find it helpful.

This is NOT the case in one-off purchases of mocap systems, where long-term risk is hidden (also applies to a pool, or a fancy treadmill). The seller has an incentive to hide the mid and long-term risks and costs of a traditional mocap system - the difficulty of setup, time to use, the complexity of post-processing. We’ve heard of multiple accounts of traditional mocap systems, expensive aqua PT and high-end treadmills gathering dust, after the one-time purchase, and resulting only in a depreciation line on your year-end accounting. There is no recourse for a one-time purchase of a traditional mocap system (traditional mocap vendors have little to no skin in the game). Surely, it is your fault, and not the vendors, that you are not utilizing your $100’000 mocap system/pool/treadmill - returns are not allowed.

Labor costs - i.e. the time required to run movement screen

The time component can be calculated by taking into account your cost of labor. Assume the time cost of your physical therapist is $100’000/year ($50/hour). This means that for one (1) hour of movement screens, the labor cost will be $50.

For one movement screen you end up paying a median of ten (10) times more per screen using traditional mocap, due to the order of magnitude time required!

As an example say that you perform 1000 screens with median length duration (1 hour for traditional mocap, five (5) minutes for EuMotus).

For a traditional mocap system 1000 screens will cost: 1000 screens * 1 hours/screen * $50/hour = $50’000 in labor costs!

For EuMotus BodyWatch 1000 screens will cost: 1000 screens * 5/60 hours/screen * $50/hour = $4167, or more than 10x less in labor cost than a traditional mocap system!

But not all mocap movement screens are created equal in time (and patience) requirements - read on to utilization point 3.

Utilization. Traditional mocap systems cycle time per patient as little as 30 minutes to two (2) hours range. EuMotus BodyWatch is designed specifically for the clinic, and screens take as little as 1-2 minutes up to 10 minutes. This means that for every one (1) screen performed using a traditional mocap system, in the same amount of time EuMotus BodyWatch can help you perform at least ten (10) times as many screens.

What we’ve found is that in addition to an extended duration, added complexity of traditional mocap results in even less usage. Read on to our case study, where a PT clinic acquired a $50k - $100k system, using it less than ten (10) times in three (3) years!

motion capture for PT
Traditional mocap systems are the gold standard in accuracy ... complexity, and gathering dust in the PT setting.

Case study: What happens if the mocap system doesn’t work for your clinic, after purchase?

Case Study A: Traditional mocap system purchase

$50k to $100k up-front cost. You’re all-in, and feel good about the competitive edge you’ve acquired! The training passes, and you haven’t used the system the first week. The one employee who kind of knew how to use the system left. The honeymoon period passes, and in the first three years, you have used your system less than 10 times. The system was used 8 times. Conservatively that equates to $50’000/8 = $6250 per screen in CAPEX (not considering OPEX, or real estate costs)!

Adding insult-to-injury, the clinic lost a marker, and cannot operate the system without it. The replacement marker costs $2500. Even if a replacement marker is obtained, the owner is not confident in using a complicated system and worried about applying it with a patient.

So once the clinic has purchased the system they have no recourse to recoup costs from the manufacturer. They cannot return the system. The system gathers dust and is only good as a depreciation line item.

Case Study B: EuMotus BodyWatch motion analysis subscription

We get it, for a variety of reasons the system may not be used. You contact us. We schedule a call to do training sessions and follow up with you closely in the next few weeks. Best case scenario for us (and we hope for you!), you become more comfortable using the (what we think is the easiest and quickest 3D) system in the clinical context. You systematically implement the system in your clinic, and your patients return for an additional two visits.

In the worst case scenario, for whatever reason, if you don’t get value out of our system, you cancel the subscription and return the system to us.

We understand and are the first to point out that motion analysis is not for everyone, AND for everyone who takes the leap with us, we promise to set you and your clinic up for success with our system.

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light onto the true cost of motion capture and analysis systems for physical therapy. Send us a note should you want to discuss in detail!

Download Your Free Cost of Motion Capture for Physical Therapy Ebook Below!

Want to read more? Check out our physical therapy equipment break even post, focused on mocap for PT.

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