At BII, we support early-stage life science start-ups that contribute to improving human health for the benefit of people and society. But which trends do we see in health tech? We asked Senior Business Developer, Tony Cheng-fu Chang.
How can AI-enhanced technologies and new reporting tools make a difference in healthcare systems?
Modern AI and ML-based analytics in medicine and health care can significantly improve the health of people, safe lives, and lead to sensible resource use. However, a lot of data is needed. It is necessary to re-use the existing data from e.g. medical health records and registries. At the same time, the privacy of people must be guaranteed. A company like VEIL.AI is working on improving health with the help of data while preserving people’s privacy.
Another interesting company in this field is Aiomic. Using published prediction models for more than 15 different postoperative complications, Aiomic is developing a solution that provides a postoperative complication risk score for individual patients. Their vision is to shape a more cost-efficient healthcare system that further improves patient outcomes.
Currently, postoperative complications place a significant strain on resources for hospitals worldwide where 5-15% of surgical procedures are complicated by an adverse event. A patient generates thousands of potentially useful data points for postoperative complications management; however, these data points are infrequently accessed, partly due to a lack of spending resources to monitor all patients. Consequently, postoperative complications are being discovered late. However, postoperative complications can be mitigated with early detection, creating a strong case for developing an analytical model that constantly monitors patient data for signs of postoperative complication development.
Why are healthcare practitioners and personnel crucial in developing innovation that can radically change existing treatment options for patients?
Analyzing a problem with a utility framework for innovation is often neglected in favor of technological advancement. Healthcare practitioners who face healthcare problems daily are ideally positioned to spot unmet medical needs with a new perspective and design tailored solutions to those needs.
AMPA Medical, founded by a duo of healthcare practitioners who have identified an innovation gap in the ostomy care market, is a clear example of a need-driven innovation that has led to a completely new paradigm in the established practice of ostomy care. Combining their healthcare experience and their perspective on the unmet need, AMPA Medical is working toward bringing highly user-friendly options tailored to a patient’s specific needs in ostomy care.
Self-monitoring solutions have received increased attention over the last few years. How do you see self-monitoring solutions play a role in helping patients to better manage their conditions?
The ability for patients to monitor their own condition is a cornerstone of diabetes care where self-monitoring makes up a crucial step of a patient’s care journey. However, this step is missing for other chronic diseases such as thyroid disorders, where a patient is left to blindly follow a treatment in-between follow-up consultations that may be up to 6 months apart.
A patient’s condition can change substantially between follow-ups and the originally prescribed treatment can become inadequate. HEI Therapeutics is developing a thyroid hormone self-monitoring solution to give thyroid disorder patients the ability to better understand their conditions and empower them to have higher-quality conversations with their doctors. HEI Therapeutics’ solution also makes more frequent measurements of the patient’s condition available to the doctor in an accessible and affordable manner, contributing to improved disease management and improved quality of life for the patients.
How do you see sensor technologies contribute to enabling more effective personalized treatment of patients?
The advancement of wearable technology has created an opportunity to collect data from the human body, such as movement data, that was previously difficult to access. This opportunity has spurred innovative startups to develop monitoring applications for healthcare where wearable data collected from a patient is translated into clinically useful measurements (so-called digital biomarkers), which have the potential to feed additional insights into healthcare decision-making.
Orbit Health is a digital health company that has developed a digital biomarker-based solution for continuous symptom monitoring in Parkinson’s Disease. Based on data collected through a wrist wearable device, Orbit Health’s analytic model generates a clinically relevant symptom score that is useful as feedback on a patient’s response to treatment and enables the delivery of personalized treatment for individual patients.
New cutting-edge imaging techniques are foreseen as improving current treatment methods for various diseases. How do you see this development?
Histopathology is a long-established clinical routine practice, and histopathological analysis of sliced tissue biopsy is regarded as the gold standard in many diagnostic routines, including cancer metastasis staging. However, the labor resources and cost required to perform a histopathological analysis on an entire biopsy sample force pathologists to be selective when processing the biopsy sample, which may lead to inadequate results.
FLASH Diagnostics has developed a novel tissue biopsy technology that removes the need to slice a tissue biopsy sample and enables visualization of an entire tissue biopsy sample down to single-cell level. Starting with lymph node analysis for cancer metastasis staging, FLASH Diagnostics endeavors to transform histopathology diagnoses where slicing tissue biopsy samples is just not good enough.