Listen to our latest episode in the ‘Health at Heart‘ podcast series featuring Dr David Steinhaus
Tell us a little about yourself, Dr Mitchell
I am a Consultant Cardiologist in Jersey and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Oxford University Hospitals. I head up a Digital Health Research Lab and during the COVID pandemic I was Chief Clinical Information Officer for Jersey.
Outside of medicine I ride off-road motorcycles and enjoy the wonderful outdoor life that the Island of Jersey offers. I have had a long interest in technology, mathematics and computers dating back to the early 1980s when I used to programme a Commodore VIC20 and BBC Model B computers.
A career in cardiology, with the academic and practical aspects of the speciality, therefore suited my analytical brain. I was brought up in Jersey so when the job came up in 2006, I moved back home and since then I have helped shape the cardiology service to provide the best possible heart care for Islanders. The Jersey Heart Team is small but built around the key skills and attributes of our members which has allowed us to be clinically agile, and rapidly adopt new techniques and technologies, often in advance of larger European hospitals. Our innovative work has been recognised with several UK national professional awards for excellence awarded to the Jersey Heart Team.
We also have a dedicated digital health research team with some amazing doctors helping develop immersive and artificial intelligence technologies, often in conjunction with early phase digital companies. The mixture of the clinical cardiology, academic, and digital health roles make every day interesting, fun, challenging and unpredictable.
You have been providing consultancy for B-Secur for a while now and seen the company go through numerous iterations, can you share some highlights from this journey? I have been working with B-Secur for over three years and was initially attracted to the company as they were exploring a novel way of using the electrical activity of the heart (the ECG) to provide a unique biometric for individual identification (User-ID).
B-Secur has a great leadership team, and it has always been stimulating to meet up with them, initially as a consultant but more recently as part of the Scientific Advisory Board of B-Secur. I have been able to help the company evolve to the point where they developed their suite of ECG diagnostic capabilities culminating in the FDA clearance of HeartKey.
“B-Secur is now making the transition from a purely technology company to a medical company and it is a pleasure to work with the team to help facilitate this part of the journey.”
One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. What impact do you see technology like HeartKey® having? Unfortunately, many patients who succumb to cardiovascular disease had no warning that they had a potential problem before their death. Although, the build-up of fatty plaques in the wall of heart arteries can cause angina when they block the flow of blood, it is usually just minor artery narrowing that causes heart attacks.
At least half of patients who have heart attacks therefore do not have symptoms before their event. Similarly, many patients with the heart rhythm change known as atrial fibrillation only find out that they have the condition when they present with a stroke or heart failure. Traditional risk factors such as cigarette smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure will help identify patients at risk of heart attacks. New digital health technologies will also help identify those at increased risk of death.
“HeartKey® from B-Secur allows an FDA-cleared suite of ECG diagnostic algorithms to be simply incorporated into many medical and non-medical devices, allowing monitoring of individual’s heart rhythm and the early detection of problems such as atrial fibrillation. This then allows timely drug interventions to be prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke, heart failure and death.”