HITIQ is finishing 2021 on a high after entering a deal with one of Australia’s largest health funds to provide concussion management technology to its four million plus customer base.

Investors have jumped into HITIQ (ASX:HIQ) following Bupa Dental Care’s exclusive agreement to offer the healthtech’s industry leading concussion management technology to the consumer market.

It’s a deal which will see the insurance giant pay for customer access to the HITIQ tech under Bupa’s eligible extras cover.

The partnership is taking the lead in Australia’s mission to significantly improve junior and community sport safety by monitoring head impacts and to enhance concussion management protocols – which everyone expects can lead to better long-term health outcomes.

HITIQ’s patented Nexus A9 technology will be accessible to customers from Bupa Health Insurance’s well over four million membership base, as well as the general public through Bupa Dental Practices in early 2022.

News of the deal sent the HITIQ share price close up 4%.


Deal follows Bupa trial of force measuring sensors

The landmark deal follows Bupa Dental’s trial of its concussion management technology with junior rugby players announced in July, opening the door to the nationwide junior sports market.

HITIQ mouthguards are embedded with force measuring sensors which record and interpret head impacts and the accumulation of force from hits sustained at training and during a game.

HITIQ said the trial objectives were successfully met and concluded a growing need to enhance grassroots concussion safety protocols.

HITIQ mouthguards have previously been only commercially available for the elite sports market and used by professional Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) players.

The tech will now be made available to consumers in partnership with Bupa Dental Care, in time for the regular community AFL, Rugby League and Rugby Union seasons.


Crucial impact alert

In the consumer environment, HITIQ technology is delivered through the smart mouthguard system which is paired with an easy-to-use mobile application.

The system provides an alert following the detection of any significant head impact, and then directs the parent to assess their child using HITIQ’s newly acquired CSX concussion injury screening tool.

Based on the results of the screening tool, the user may be directed to an appropriate medical professional for further assessment.

Where a player is subsequently diagnosed with a concussion by a medical professional, the HITIQ application provides ongoing guidance on management of concussion symptoms, as well as recognised return-to-play protocols.


Bupa’s extras to cover mouthguard cost

Under the deal HITIQ smart mouthguard technology is being offered exclusively for 12 months through Bupa Dental Care’s network and customer base.

Health insurance policy holders will qualify for reimbursement under eligible extras cover for the technology.

Bupa Dental Care will start a marketing campaign of the HITIQ mouthguards in early CY2022, targeting both its customers and the general public.


Making community sport safer

Bupa’s Managing Director of Health Services, Dr Dwayne Crombie, said the health fund was looking forward to helping improve concussion management in Australian sport.

“The results from our initial trial were extremely promising and we look forward to working with HITIQ to offer this solution across our Australian dental practices,” he said.

“We’re proud to be the first dental network to offer the HITIQ solution to Australians to help make community sport a safer experience.”

HITIQ CEO, Mike Vegar said the company was excited to formalise its relationship with Bupa Dental Care on the back of a successful trial this year.

“Our founding vision was based on building technology that could have meaningful impact on the health outcomes of athletes across the world, amateurs and children included,” he said.

“Together with Bupa Dental Care, we are making significant strides towards realising that vision and allowing the grassroots markets access to our technology platform.

“Our goal is to provide easy-to-use technology, which parents can use to more easily identify risk and implement the appropriate interventions.”


HITIQ achieves key milestones in 2021

It’s been a transformative year for HITIQ, which made a strong start to life as a public company, when it listed on the ASX on June 16.

HITIQ gained early traction in the domestic market when it signed a multi-year supply deal with the AFL.

It has also entered a deal with Rugby Australia and is already building momentum with major sports leagues globally.

Scottish Rugby — the governing body for rugby union in Scotland – is undertaking a full-scale trial of the mouthguard technology for the 2021/22 Scottish rugby season.

The company also got a break into the lucrative US college football market with its mouthguards  being deployed in six Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) division one US college football programs.

HITIQ last month announced a successful $1 million takeover bid of leading New Zealand concussion assessment technology company CSX Limited, which has a global customer base of professional sporting associations.

If this year is anything to go by, 2022 will be just as big a hit for HITIQ.

This article was developed in collaboration with HITIQ, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.