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Sunday May 1st, 2022

HeartKey® 2.0: Driving healthcare change to meet modern patient and consumer demand

 

By Adrian Condon, CTO

“It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

 

As we look back on the last two years, it’s fair to say that never before have these words by the father of evolutionary science, Charles Darwin resonated more.

From employees working from home, businesses pivoting to join the fight against Covid, through to the radical transformation of industries around the world, ‘adapting to change’ has been the cornerstone of how many survived and others thrived in the pandemic.

And it’s this type of transformation – on a mass scale – that will equip us and future generations with the power to tackle the world’s most fundamental health and wellness issues. 

Covid-19 has been the single biggest challenge to global health and care for generations. Health systems around the world, which were already under stress, are buckling under the weight of outdated models of care and the sheer overwhelming nature of the pandemic.

When it comes to heart health, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s biggest killer. The World Health Organisation reports CVD as the cause of death for 17.9 million people annually with 85% of these suffering a heart attack or stroke.

In the U.S. CVD costs €1billion per day and is attributable to one in four deaths with someone dying from it every 36 seconds. These are sobering statistics but what is perhaps more alarming is the fact that many of these deaths can be prevented. The American Heart Association has reported that an estimated 80% of CVD, including heart disease and stroke are avoidable. One of the pandemic’s most concerning health legacies is that in around 25% of those who have recovered from the virus there are now indications of arrhythmia. 

The pandemic has also had a profound impact on cardiologists. A recent survey from the American College of Cardiology found that U.S. burnout rates increased to 40% from a pre-pandemic 27% rate while international cardiologists burnout more than doubled to 21% from 10%. According to the National Academy of Medicine, burnout in the health care workplace has become a major problem. With health care round the world struggling to cope, professionals putting their own health at risk and millions of people needlessly dying from CVD, there is a strong argument that the system is broken and in need of replacing.

Pre-covid, introducing transformational change in health care was a bitter pill for many to swallow but the pandemic has caused a tectonic shift in people’s willingness to adopt new ways of interacting with their doctors. For example, before the pandemic just five percent of people in the U.S. were happy to consult with their health care professional virtually. Once Covid struck, this figure rose to 85%. The environment may be right for a significant move to remote patient monitoring.

At B-Secur adapting to change is in our DNA. 

As a company we initially immersed ourselves in deep scientific research on biometric security, but we discovered the accuracy of our data and the deep insights we could provide were perfectly suited to heart health technology and the goal of saving millions of lives. We were that new company which entered a seemingly unrelated industry and challenged the conventions which had stood for a long time. At B-Secur we approach things differently.

In 2019 we launched HeartKey®, a suite of powerful FDA-cleared EKG algorithms and analytics which deliver medical grade health and wellness data. We also began partnering with world-leading technology companies who use our technology to help reduce their time to market for next generation wearable devices. 

Now as the world emerges from the pandemic there has been a convergence of the medical and consumer device industries. The word convergence doesn’t seem powerful enough – a high-speed, head-on collision might be a better way to describe it. Covid-19 has sparked a renewed consumer interest in health and wellness. According to Statista the wellness market worldwide was valued at $4.37 trillion in 2020 but this is expected to grow to almost $7 trillion by 2025. 

Statista also reports that the MedTech market worldwide is valued at $17.87 billion. Within this, the medical devices segment is by far the largest and is valued at $16.15 billion in 2022. Often when ‘collisions’ between two different industries take place they spawn better, robust and more consumer-friendly technology. We are now seeing global companies who traditionally operate in the consumer sector announce plans for moving into the medical device sector and vice versa.

We saw Amazon investing heavily in hospital infrastructure in 2020 while Google and Apple are exploring Remote Patient Monitoring systems.

On the other hand, the traditional players in the provision of healthcare devices such as Abbot and Medtronic are responding. Abbot CEO, Robert B. Ford announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that its new range of “biowearables” are designed to reach a greater market audience than just patients.

As the shockwaves from this collision spread out, we believe we have positioned ourselves strategically between the consumer and medical device industries. We are on the cusp of a time when an affordable watch can give multiple biomarkers, blurring even more the boundaries between consumer and medical tech. It is our HeartKey® technology that can help companies racing their devices to market beat the competition.

In Deloitte’s look ahead at the Medtech industry’s trends for 2022, partnerships and collaborations between consumer and medtech companies were seen as key and they used the example of Zimmer Biomet working with Apple on the mymobility app which remotely tracks patients’ recovery from knee or hip replacement surgery.

The report stated: “The increased use of virtual health care and remote diagnostics will open the door to new innovative medical technologies that can assist in testing, monitoring, and tertiary-level patient care being done in the home.”

“Challenges will always be present—that’s the nature of health care and business in general. However, the pandemic has shone a spotlight on how medtech is critical to our nation’s health care infrastructure and our ability to respond to extraordinary events. It is time to harness that momentum and take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The transition to more remote patient monitoring (RPM) is gathering pace worldwide. Insider Intelligence estimates 70.6 million US patients, or 26.2% of the population, will use RPM tools by 2025. 

Next generation wearable devices can be the catalyst for the fundamental changes health systems around the world need to embrace. They provide the pathway for the shift towards remote patient monitoring, a pathway the pandemic has helped signpost by creating a change in attitude regarding patient adoption of virtual consultations. But these wearables will only ever be as powerful as the data they collect. For too long many of these devices have not been sophisticated enough to harvest medical grade data. This is changing.

Like Darwin, we have our own theories on evolution. B-Secur has launched our innovative HeartKey® 2.0 technology, which we believe drives alignment between consumer and medical tech. The cloud-based suite of FDA-cleared software reduces heart trace signal noise, elevating EKG interpretation to new heights of efficiency and accuracy for clinicians and facilitating the trend towards greater remote cardiac monitoring.

With HeartKey® 2.0’s universal performance across EKG use cases from Holters to wearable and implantable devices, we’re confident it is the breakthrough clinicians have been waiting for. The technology refines and enhances signal clarity enabling EKG clinicians to make faster and more accurate diagnoses.

In addition to superior signal processing, HeartKey® 2.0 provides deep health and wellness insights for better patient care. Outside of a clinical and remote patient monitoring environment, the innovative technology is also available for consumer wearables at a time when more people are motivated to monitor their own heart health.

With the support of our partners, we can reduce the statistic which says 80% of CVD deaths are preventable. 80% of 17.9 million! That is over 14 million deaths which can be prevented each year. This is what drives us at B-Secur.

We recognise when it comes to analysing our data, the gold standard will always be the human being in the room. What HeartKey® 2.0 does is provide the best possible data for them to make decisions accurately and efficiently. This means that the burden doesn’t always lie with the cardiologist, which we hope will go some way in alleviating the burnout currently being experienced by far too many of these life-savers.

The technology is available now for us to deliver better health outcomes for today’s and future generations. At B-Secur we believe we are laying the foundation for health systems around the world to adapt to change – together we are stronger and smarter.