2018 was a pivotal year for digital health technologies with major headlines of industry disruption dominating the news agenda.
As we enter 2019, we’ve asked the leaders and innovators of the industry to look forward, and share their new year’s resolutions for 2019. They reveal the technologies they’re most excited about, the biggest challenges currently facing health tech, and those they see having the biggest impact on the industry.
Since the Apple Watch was equipped with an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature in September 2018, heart rhythm measurement conducted via an app has arrived to the mass market. However, the true technology leader in this space is based not in Silicon Valley, but in the German city of Jena, Thuringia.
Preventicus uses smartphones and wearables to detect arrhythmia without any accessories on ECG quality level. The Preventicus Heartbeats app allows you to measure and record your cardiac rhythm on your smartphone in just one minute. With its solutions, you can detect atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia at an early stage to provide advanced medical diagnostics and therapy and thus prevent strokes.
Dr. Thomas Hübner, founder and managing director of Preventicus, explains in an interview how he developed his company from a tech start-up to a provider of a holistic care solution – and what opportunities and challenges health tech companies are currently facing.
Challenges for health tech providers – smart screening is not enough
“The industry is currently changing, there are many young companies with innovative ideas. Some of them succeed in developing leading technologies that offer tremendous added value compared to established methods. But with the development of a technology alone, it is not done – no matter how good it is. The first challenge for a provider of new digital health technologies is the certification of its quality management as a medical device manufacturer in accordance with ISO 13485 and the CE certification of the digital medical device itself. For the latter, it must be proven in a complex procedure that the products are both safe and medically and technically efficient. In order to be able to work together with health insurance companies and healthcare providers, extensive clinical studies and health economic assessments are needed. Not all providers are successful to overcome these hurdles”.
Creating a solution that is economically attractive
“The second challenge is to embed the technology in a holistic care concept. Take Preventicus as an example: We offer the technology with the highest accuracy worldwide. But technology alone is not enough to gain a foothold in the healthcare system. So the question we asked from the beginning was how to embed our products and services into a well-integrated supply program that is attractive to both – payer and physicians. Our ecosystem now covers the entire path of the patient – heart rhythm screening through the app, verification of conspicuous results by medical technical assistants in a TeleCare team, medical diagnosis above the standard of care and treatment decision by a cardiologist. We also take care of the billing for the so called “special insurance benefits” via the health insurance. The sum of these parts creates a total solution that is economically attractive for the partners involved – that is crucial to be successful.”
Opportunities in 2019
“Today’s smartphones and smartwatches incorporate such powerful sensors that they potentially support a wide range of diagnostic procedures. This is an exciting field in which we play also operate with our core technology. Instead of developing our own device, we rely on hardware that every patient already wears in his pocket or on his arm. The procedure has many advantages, such as lower development and acquisition costs, in addition, the user does not carry any additional device with him”.
“In the meantime, we have proven that innovative measuring methods based on consumer technology can be matched with primary care. And I’m sure that there are still many exciting business cases in this area. Some of them could see the light of day in 2019, we look forward to that.”
Local and global focus in 2019
“In 2018, we reached milestones in clinical evaluation and further expanded our ecosystem. We want to grow further in Germany, while at the same time planning expansion into other countries and healthcare markets. The EU has been supporting us since November 2018 as part of the “Horizon 2020″ innovation promotion program – on the basis of this commitment, we want to move up to the European standard solution for stroke prevention in the coming months.”
For further informations about Preventicus, please visit their website https://www.preventicus.com/en/.