PATIENT MONITORING: HARDWIRED FOR WIRELESS
According to a report by market research firm, MarketsandMarkets, the $14 billion patient monitoring device market is expected to reach $19 billion by 2016. The combination of an increasingly ageing population with increasing incidence of chronic diseases on the one hand, together with breakthroughs in wireless technology on the other, spells opportunity for innovation. Hospitals still account for more than 50% of the demand for monitoring devices but, as the world becomes increasingly mobile, the capacity for patient monitoring at clinics, home and on-the-go is on the rise.
Scandinavian and Israeli companies share expertise in ICT and healthcare industries. Some companies, such as Israel’s Oridion, recently acquired by global healthcare products company, Coviden, have already made their mark on the industry. We take a look at some Scandinavian and Israeli companies on the horizon of tomorrow’s breakthrough monitoring technologies.
Telemedicine for the Masses
Once seen as a solution to provide medical care for remote regions, telemedicine is increasingly being adopted as a method of providing services, wherever needed, which were previously found only in hospitals. Founded in 2002, Finnish company RemoteA offers easy-to-use, cost-efficient solutions for simplifying the diagnosis of a number of common medical disorders, such as sleep apnea, cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension. Its systems and services transfer patient monitoring from the hospital to the doctor’s office or the local medical centre. It is based on easy-to-use devices, sophisticated browser-based analysis software and secure communications linking the patient and his doctor to specialists. The company’s Sleep Aid mobile app helps individuals identify symptoms of sleep apnea. RemoteA’s system is highly scalable, making it appropriate for private practitioners, large hospitals and medical centres alike. It currently serves close to 200 clinics and health centre facilities in Finland, Sweden, the UK and Portugal.
Asleep and on the Job
Norwegian company, Spiro Medical AS specializes in devices to diagnose sleep-related breathing disorders. The ApneaGraph® AG200, manufactured and sold by MRA Medical, Ltd. and installed in over 200 clinics worldwide, is designed for ambulatory testing for obstructive sleep apnea. This device not only diagnoses the existence of the disorder but also indicates its location, facilitating surgical and therapeutic treatment of the disease. The AG200 does not require either a sleep technician for set up or a sleep physician to interpret results. The company’s next-generation device, the ApneaGraph® Spiro is currently under development in Norway. The new device will be the first in the world to measure lung pressure in combination with arousals from sleep in order to detect respiratory-related arousals which are an integral part of sleep-related breathing disorders. The company has recently started cooperation with Swedish start-up CathPrint, to develop a disposable catheter for the AG200.
Controlling Diabetes on the Go
Several Finnish companies are also making important inroads in diabetes management. Founded in 2009, Finnish start-up, MODZ has developed a blood glucose monitor specifically for the youth market. The MODZA® is easy and even “fun” to use with built-in wireless data delivery capabilities. All measurements can be tracked remotely through web-enabled or mobile devices. Parents can be alerted when blood sugar either spikes or plunges or if the child forgets to take a measurement. The company has signed a marketing agreement with Danish company and world leader in diabetes treatment, Novo Nordisk.
Compatriot Finnish start-up, Mendor manufactures and markets an integrative, all-in-one blood glucose monitor which looks more like a sleek new cell phone than anything medical. The Mendor Discreet™ is designed for diabetics on the go. It has a built-in lancer unit and cartridge for 25 test strips. It weighs less than an IPOD, does not require a carrying pouch or special cover, needs only a small drop of blood and renders results within 5 seconds. The entire operation takes about the time it takes to send a text message and can be performed hassle-free virtually anywhere at anytime. To complement the monitor, Mendor recently launched its cloud-base glucose analysis software service – Balance™, which can also be used in conjunction with monitors manufactured by Bayer, Roche, Abbot, LifeScan and others, to track blood glucose behaviour over time, facilitating more effective treatment.
Saying NO to Asthma
Two researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm discovered that nitric oxide (NO) is a marker for airway inflammation. In 1997 the two founded Aerocrine, which develops and manufactures nitric oxide monitoring devices used for diagnosing and monitoring patients with asthma. The NIOX Mino is a compact monitor designed for use in small clinics. The device measures nitric oxide in a patient’s breath to diagnose the disease, monitor its development over time and help determine the best course and dosage of treatment. The company recently entered a distribution agreement with French biopharmaceutical company Stallergenes for the marketing of NIOX Mino in select European countries and the Middle East.
By enabling contact-free continual monitoring of vital signs, Israel’s EarlySense Ltd. puts a new spin on wireless patient monitoring. The EarlySense System is an integrated monitoring solution that provides continuous and real-time vital sign and motion information for use in hospital wards. It measures respiration rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation and patient movement (including leaving the bed) for up to 36 patients simultaneously through a sensor placed under the bed mattress. The data is transmitted and displayed automatically at the bedside, nurses’ station and other centralized areas. Information and alerts are also sent to handheld devices to facilitate response by caregivers throughout the unit while patients can enjoy freedom of movement. The system helps to improve proactive patient care, prevent patient falls and reduce pressure ulcers. It has been installed in hospitals and rehabilitation centres throughout the U.S. and Europe. The company recently received FDA clearance for its Bedside System with Oximetry Integration, which may be critical for post-surgical patients. Marketing of the new system is scheduled for 2013. The company also secured additional $15 equity financing in a round led by Pitango Venture Capital.