In a world of big data analytics and quantified-selfers, wearable technology companies are uniquely positioned to bring about measurable differences in our everyday lives. While Fitbits and Apple Watches are common on wrists around the U.S., some industry leaders have called their true utility into question. VitalConnect’s unique approach to wearable technology, on the other hand, uses a cutting-edge wearable biosensor, VitalPatch, that is unquestionably making a difference in patient care. We got a chance to sit down with Bill Brodie, CCO of VitalConnect, to chat about their unique solution to patient monitoring and their newly announced Vista Solution platform to enhance the utility and experience of the VitalPatch.
Mohammad Saleh, Medgadget: Tell us about VitalConnect’s mission and how you came to be a part of it.
Bill Brodie, VitalConnect: I’ve been in the medical devices area for 25 years. I heard about this technology when they were looking for a head of commercial. As soon as I met with the team and learned about this awesome technology with tremendous potential, I wanted to join. I’ve been with the company for about 3 and a half years now.
VitalConnect’s mission is to deliver elegant solutions to clinicians to allow them to save lives and enhance patient experience. We’ve developed a continuous patient-monitoring platform comprised of both our patch and the related software. It enables monitoring anytime, anywhere, with the goal of allowing clinicians to simply care for their patients in a better manner.
Medgadget: Can you give our readers a brief overview on your company’s VitalPatch biosensor?
Brodie: VitalPatch is a fully-disposable, simple-to-use, comfortable biosensor that collects 8 key measurements. Those are ECG, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, temperature, steps (as a pedometer), body position, and fall detection. It’s one of the only, if not the only, device cleared by the FDA for fall detection. It connects to the internet, and now with our new product launch of the Vista Solution software, allows for clinicians to view patient biometrics from anywhere, in or out of the hospital.
Medgadget: You touched on VitalConnect’s recently announced platform, the Vista Solution. Can you tell us what it entails and how it’s different from the current status quo?
Brodie: The platform consists of the biosensor patch, combined with a smart-box relay that sends the data to the cloud. Subsequent software allows for data integration and patient monitoring from anywhere. As a flexible system utilizing the cloud, it continuously monitors the patient in the hospital or ER, or even at home. It’s very scalable and not geographically limited.
Medgadget: How do doctors or nurses keep tabs on patient vitals using your system?
Brodie: They can either view the vital signs locally at the bed-side or at a central monitoring station (such as a nurse’s station). They could even have monitoring techs in a remote location. That allows them to keep tabs on data they’ve never had before – they’ve only had this kind of monitoring in very high acuity settings like an ICU. They also receive notifications if the patient is outside a given range based on their choice of vital measurements (for example, a heart rate above 140). It’s all a class II FDA-cleared device for active and continuous monitoring.
Medgadget: How do you ensure the safety of patient data on the cloud-based VistaCenter?
Brodie: Everything is securely protected via passwords and encryptions. All the data is also de-identified until it gets to the hospital server systems.
Medgadget: Are the generated vitals data kept on file forever for patients, or just during hospitalization?
Brodie: That is a decision made by the customer – the hospital. They can either keep the data for a short period of time or they can archive it.
Medgadget: How much does a patch and full deployment of the Vista Solution system cost? Who pays for it?
Brodie: The hospitals would pay for it, just like any other medical device in a clinical setting. The cost is comparable to other monitoring equipment on the market, but one of our goals is to provide a cheaper, more efficient way of monitoring for hospitals. We expect this solution will decrease the overall cost of care for our customers on the long run.
Medgadget: Can you highlight the plan for roll out of the Vista Solution platform with Mercy hospitals and other collaborators?
Brodie: Our first launch is with Mercy’s flagship hospital in St. Louis. We’re launching on several units and floors in that hospital. We will then subsequently roll out to additional hospitals within the Mercy system. They have a total of 46 hospitals and we’ll do that over time. The launch was for in-patient usage within the St. Louis hospital, but they’re also launching out-patient usage now.
Medgadget: Is the system for adult patients only, or do you cover neonatal and pediatric patients?
Brodie: Right now, the FDA clearance only covers usage for adults, 18 years of age and older.
Medgadget: Does VitalConnect plan on developing any interventional devices that respond to vitals measured?
Brodie: Our solution is intended to provide information necessary for enabling physicians to better care for their patients in real-time. Live, continuous data like this is something they haven’t really had before without being in an ICU setting. This is a huge step in providing high quality care both in and outside of the hospital. We will be adding four more vital measurements as we proceed with our product development that will additionally help caregivers with diagnosis. We will also add smarter alerts using advanced algorithms and predictive analytics. Those are ongoing projects as we speak.
Medgadget: Where do you see this market, and VitalConnect, in 10 years?
Brodie: There are varying reports on the wearables market. Remote patient monitoring is in the $15 billion range now, expecting to double in the next five years. There is a global increase in cost of care and an older demographic of patients, so this type of monitoring will increasingly become the standard of care. I believe that VitalConnect will be leading the way in that effort!