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The shirt is expected to have FDA clearance and be available in the U.S. next year
People are living longer than ever before, but the downside of that is an increase in the number of people who have a chronic illnesses, with 300 million people in the US and Europe, and growing, who have at least one chronic disease. With so many people who are sick, there are not even enough hospitals or healthcare professionals to carry the load.
That is the impetus behind Chronolife, a company that uses artificial intelligence to predict health events before they happen. It's algorithm, called Hierarchy Of event-based Time Surfaces, or HOTS, "allows the near real-time fusion of data from a variety of sensors to detect and predict impending clinical events," CEO Laurent Vandebrouck told VatorNews.
The Paris-based Chronolife made two announcements on Thursday: first, that it raised an undisclosed amount of funding from three investors: iBionext, a Paris-based startup studio and investment fund; Adrea, a French insurance company; and Celeste Management, a Swiss family office.
"We can’t communicate on the funds raised, but the amount raised will finance the execution of our plan, including the financing of the clinical trials needed to obtain certification in Europe and in the US of our predictive service for chronic heart failure," said Vandebrouck.
The second announcement is that its Nexkin product, a washable smart T-shirt that uses the HOTS algorithm to monitor six physiological parameters, is now commercially available.
Launched two weeks ago, the Nexkin wearable t-shirt has 10 biometric scanners that continuously tracking things like heart rate, abdominal and thoracic breathing, body temperature, physical activity, and pulmonary impedance.
Data from the shirt is transmitted via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone, where it is then integrated using the HOTS algorithm to deliver health insights. Those insights can then be downloaded or transferred to secure servers for review by health professionals.
"HOTS allows the near real-time fusion of data from a variety of sensors to detect and predict impending clinical events. The algorithm is combined with comfortable, wearable, multiparametric sensor technology: a smart T-shirt that provides continuous remote monitoring for patients suffering from chronic illnesses and generates actionable insights to allow timely intervention by healthcare professionals," Vandebrouck explained.
"By remotely monitoring patients with chronic conditions continuously in the comfort of their homes, and using HOTS to make sense of incoming data, we can predict the deterioration of their health and adjust their therapy/treatment, potentially avoiding hospital readmissions. This in turn will lead to lower healthcare expenses and provide better quality of life for patients."
Chronolife has already signed, and is in the process of signing, deals with medtechs, system integrators, e-health platforms and service providers, and insurers for risk reduction and prevention programs, such as ageing in place, senior care, and rehabilitation after an illness or injury.
Healthcare organizations and professionals, for example, can use Nexkin to continuously monitor users’ physiological markers, detect abnormalities, and then intervene. Insurance providers, meanwhile, will be able to incorporate Nexkin into outpatient preventative and support services for elderly users, increasing their independence and reducing treatment costs.
The device can also be used by pharmaceutical companies, which will be able to use Nexkin to boost the accuracy of clinical trials and therapeutic efficacy programs.
"We focus on RPM (remote patient monitoring), meaning that our ROI model is based on the reduction of rehospitalisations and healthcare expenses. Patients can be continuously monitored in real time, making it possible to react in a timely fashion before a major deterioration in state of health leads to rehospitalisation," said Vandebrouck.
The smart T-shirt space
Chronolife isn't the only company that sells a smart T-shirt, of course, but Vandebrouck says his company differentiates itself in a number of ways, including the fact that most only collect data on one biomarket, while Chronolife collects it on 10.
Additionally, he said, "very few have cleared any medical certifications," while the Nexkin has already received the CE mark, meaning it is certified to be sold in the European Union. Chronolife also received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval this summer, and it expects to receive medical certification in Europe beginning 2020 and FDA approval in the U.S. by the end of next year.
"Our wearable smart shirt is comfortable and fully washable without the removal of any electronic components, including the battery. This is a key point in order to ensure patient adherence," he told me.
"This data can be analysed by HOTS in a smartphone application. HOTS can run complex calculations on simple devices such as smartphones, without having to rely on remote servers, but is powerful enough to provide useful insights on the health status of the user."
Ultimately, the goal of Vandebrouck and Chronolife is to enable patient-centric care through technologies that are not only allow for continuous monitoring, but are also simple for patients to use.
"We want to design medical devices that improve adherence of patients to Remote Patient Monitoring services and support the improved detection and prediction of deterioration of the health of the patient through continuous monitoring, allowing them to continue to have a normal life."
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