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Caregility will integrate Eko's smart stethoscope services into its platform using Eko's API
Smart stethoscope company Eko uses AI to help providers identify early signs of cardiovascular disease: it has devices that can be used by both clinicians and patients at home to listen to heart and lung sounds, after which its machine learning algorithms interpret that data and provide better insights.
What the company so far has not done, however, is integrate itself into existing telehealth solutions; instead, it requires physicians to use an entirely separate platform if they wanted to use its devices.
Partnering with Caregility
To solve for this, Eko has spent the last year investing in its suite of APIs that allow telehealth solution providers to integrate its digital stethoscope and live streaming natively into their user experience and, on Thursday, it announced the first of these integrations, with enterprise telehealth platform company Caregility.
"They're the fastest growing telehealth solution provider within the enterprise market. It's a really competitive space, but Caregility has been able to roll out with about 100 hospitals and health systems, including some of the largest in the country," Jason Bellet, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Eko, said in an interview.
"They offer a pretty amazing suite of products: they have telehealth carts, wall mounted solutions that can sit within an exam room that allow providers to do virtual visits, all the way down to more mobile friendly, or even TV mounted, solutions that makes telehealth really just seamlessly embedded into the exam room and patient workflow."
What Caregility does is to help provide patient care virtually and remotely where the patient and clinician aren’t in the same room, Peter McLain, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Caregility, told VatorNews.
"There is a lot of care that is only possible in the same room, but Caregility is focused on delivering components of that care that can be done remotely to augment the quality of the care that is received by the patient and improve the clinician experience of care delivery as well," he said.
"This care delivery approach helps with the speed to care by improving the efficiency of triage and intake assessments - assessments that can be done at home or in an ambulance - and supports ongoing care with virtual vital assessments during inpatient stays."
Founded in 2013, Eko's stethescopes include the CORE Stethoscope, which amplifies sound up to 40x and can also capture, save and share sounds and can be connected to a smart device via Bluetooth; the DUO Stethoscope, an ECG and digital stethoscope that is made to be handheld so it can be used in the clinic or by patients at home; and the 3M Littmann CORE Digital Stethoscope, which combines its digital and software capabilities with the acoustic stethoscope from 3M.
The partnership with Caregility integrates Eko Connect, Eko’s suite of telehealth APIs, with Caregility Cloud, so that Caregility's customers, which are typically 2,000+ bed health systems or integrated delivery networks with several facilities and channels for care delivery, now have access to live-streaming stethoscope sounds with real-time phonocardiogram and electrocardiogram waveform visualization. The integration is compatible with all of Eko’s smart stethoscopes.
That means that, during an virtual care session within Caregility’s iConsult application, care teams can perform a complete stethoscope examination on a patient. Users wirelessly connect an Eko stethoscope directly with a Caregility APS telehealth device or tablet, which allows the care team to stay within Caregility’s iConsult application.
"Rather than a clinician needing to use the Caregility video interface, and then switch over to the Eko interface to do stethoscope live streaming, they actually do it all within one integrated solution but still leveraging Eko’s FDA cleared devices and live streaming software, which is pretty incredible," said Bellet.
With this partnership, Caregility has integrated the Eko solution with the Caregility platform to truly augment virtual care, said McLain.
"Electronic stethoscopes have been used for years to capture audio from the heart and lungs, however, the data struggled to be transmitted real-time in a way that would meaningfully augment the care that was being delivered during a call," he said.
"What Eko has done is combined the gold standard stethoscope with the latest, state-of-the-art virtual technology to excel at an electronic, Bluetooth enabled stethoscope that can augment a virtual care engagement session with a high-quality sound that is as good as if they were right in the room with the patient."
Improving the care experience
The two companies were initially introduced by a shared customer, Mercy Health, which Bellet said thought it would "amazing" if they could get the Eko stethoscopes to pair with the Caregility platform that was already in all of its exam rooms, rather than needing to have a separate system just for stethoscope live streaming, Bellet said.
The two companies share more than just compatible platforms, thought: they have a shared mission: improving the care experience for both doctors and patients.
"In one of the first meetings between Caregility and Eko, we could tell their team shared a similar philosophical approach to healthcare. They have the same vantage point of aiming to develop solutions that help caregivers and they weren’t trying to push a product for the product’s sake," McLain said.
"It was important to them, like it was for us, that the solutions we were all involved with developing meaningfully improve care for the better. Their team seemed to align with us clinically as well - beyond the role of the vendor. We both viewed our teams as partners in the delivery of care and share a responsibility in that commitment as well."
According to Bellet, both companies want to improve access to high quality specialty care and patient care, which means "making sure that there's a best in class tech stack to support that."
"That's hardware, that’s software, that's clinical decision support tools, and Caregility has demonstrated, just in the last couple of years, that they're leading the pack in terms of the interoperability of their telehealth systems, the quality of the products that they're putting out into the market, their customers rave about their solution," he said.
"Being able to have a shared customer that drove the early conversation meant that we knew that there was going to be value that we could deliver together pretty immediately."
As for what success will mean in terms of this integration, both companies want to expand access to virtual care.
"I want to empower virtual care programs at the nation's largest hospitals, who choose to roll out and centralize on one platform like Caregility, to enable them to unlock the power of our products natively within their workflow," said Bellet.
"Success looks like any Caregility health system end user that is standing up a virtual care program for primary care, cardiology, pulmonology, any service line or specialty that needs a stethoscope, to be able to do so with the flip of a switch using the Eko/Caregility integration," said Bellet.
Partnering with Eko, McLain said, "opens up other opportunities for innovation that are unimaginable - and optimistically - better care can be delivered to patients from this partnership and others like it."
"This partnership between our team at Caregility and Eko is much more than a strategic integration. We have a vision - and mission - at Caregility to make virtual care accessible at every bedside to improve the speed to care and quality of care. This partnership brings the individual solutions from being transactional in nature to strategic and omnipresent foundations for the future of healthcare. That is incredibly exciting to be a part of and work to feel good about."
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