Health Tech News This Week – March 18, 2023

What happened in health care technology this week, and why it’s important.

Image Credit:

This Self-Powered Smart Shoe Insole Tracks Vital Signs & Health of Wearers

It’s no secret to anyone that our healthcare system has problems. Healthcare professionals are being stretched thin, and hospitals are overwhelmed because of labor shortages that make it hard to keep up with admissions. This article in The Daily Moss reports that while there may be no easy solution to the problem, something can alleviate some of the burdens. And that something is Inviza Health’s new Inviza Sole, a wearable health-monitoring device that can provide doctors with all kinds of patient medical data—all without the patient needing to schedule a visit.

Image Credit: Inviza Health

The INVIZA® Sole 1.0 is among the latest innovations in INVIZA’s line of wearable medical-grade RPM and digital therapeutics (DTx) technology. Designed to be an insole that can fit comfortably into a wearer’s shoe, the INVIZA Sole 1.0’s built-in sensors can accurately measure your patient’s heart rate, body temperature, blood oxygen saturation, and other critical parameters. It can also provide data on daily physical activity, including accurate step count and type, balance, and a feature to calculate body weight trends is also in development. This data is then sent to INVIZA® Care 1.0, a digital health smartphone app that allows users to view their biometrics in real-time.

Why it’s important – Using advanced energy harvesting technology, the INVIZA® Sole 1.0 captures energy from the user’s steps, allowing it to recharge as the wearer moves. Now, that’s convenient! Say goodbye to all those pesky cables and portable chargers. No need to worry about running out of battery mid-jog either! The smart insole’s sensors are also sensitive enough to detect clinically/highly accurate vital signs through socks, ensuring that wearers don’t have to sacrifice comfort for the device. It’s way more comfortable than a Holter monitor.

Infographic of the week – From Dr. Bertalan Mesko, a graphic of skin checking apps.

Image Credit: Dr. Bertalan Mesko, The Medical Futurist Institute

Telehealth use for behavioral health increases 45X since pandemic onset and more digital health briefs

Jessica Hagen in MobiHealthNews reports that Telehealth use for behavioral health services has increased 45 times since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic across all care settings and provider types, according to a report by Trilliant Health. Less than 1% of all behavioral health visits were delivered via telehealth pre-pandemic. By the second quarter of last year, 32.8% of behavioral health appointments were conducted through telehealth. As of Q2 2022, behavioral health volumes were 18.1% above pre-pandemic levels.

Why it’s important – More Americans are taking medication to manage behavioral health conditions. Prescriptions increased by 58.2% among patients who took Adderall and its generic to treat ADHD in individuals 22 to 44 years of age from Q1 2018 to Q2 2022. However, prescriptions of Adderall and its generic remained relatively unchanged in patients under 21 and over 45 years old. The report also found a 107.4% increase in eating disorders diagnoses among U.S. residents under 18 and a 44% increase in depression disorders. Alcohol use was also on the rise during the pandemic, but 84% of patients seeking treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder who went to the emergency department did not receive follow-up care within 60 days.

Podcast of the week – This week’s recommendation comes from Sg2’s Perspectives podcast series and covers disruptors. In today’s healthcare landscape, disrupters are everywhere, so this week on Sg2 Perspectives, we invited Sg2 Associate Principal Trevor DaRin and Senior Consulting Director Casi Roethler to talk to us about how these healthcare disrupters are changing the game. Trevor and Casi discuss the disrupters to watch in the payer and retail spaces, the implications for primary care, and how health systems should respond—as well as what they can learn. You can listen here.

Image Credit: Sg2, a Vizient Company

FDA Clears TytoCare’s New Algorithm for Wheeze Detection

Virtual care company TytoCare on Wednesday received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its wheeze detection algorithm, allowing the company to begin commercializing the product in the U.S. Katie Adams reports that the new wheeze detection algorithm is an expansion of Tyto Insights. The newly cleared algorithm will fuel further support for at-home acute care and chronic condition management by enabling clinicians to diagnose respiratory conditions remotely accurately.

Why it’s important – The offering called Tyto Insights for Wheeze Detection combines AI with spectral analysis and signal processing techniques to analyze recorded lung breathing sounds. The algorithm automatically evaluates lung recordings after a patient conducts an at-home lung exam using TytoCare’s remote exam device. If a wheeze is detected, the patient’s doctor will receive an indication. The doctor will then decide on the diagnosis in conjunction with all other relevant exams and patient data.

This tiny chip is being used to develop a tooth-mounted sensor that can read your spit

The Verge’s Victoria Song reports that Silicon Labs is hoping its latest xG27 chipset is small and energy-efficient enough to spark some big ideas in the medical tech space — like a saliva reader that’s so tiny it can be mounted onto a tooth. As for how small these chips are, the xG27 SoCs range from 2mm-squared to 5mm-squared — roughly the width of a No. 2 pencil’s lead tip to the width of the pencil itself. It’s not the world’s smallest Bluetooth chip, but Silicon Labs spokesperson Sam Ponedal tells The Verge that’s only by “fractions of a millimeter.”

Why it’s important – The BG27 is currently being used to develop an actual product — the aforementioned tooth-mounted wearable sensor. Lura Health, a medical device maker, says it’s using the chip for its “salivary diagnostic sensor.” The sensor is small enough to be glued to a molar (or placed inside a “smart retainer”) to monitor a patient’s saliva continually. That, in turn, would allow dentists and clinicians to test for more than 1,000 health conditions potentially. Lura Health claims it has just finished clinical trials for the sensor with UConn Orthodontics and is preparing to undergo the FDA regulatory process. If all goes well, the product could hit the market in 12-18 months.

Why Billionaires Ken Griffin And Eric Schmidt Are Spending $50 Million On A New Kind Of Scientific Research

On Wednesday, Schmidt and Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin announced they were committing $50 million to Convergent Research, which Schmidt spun out from his non-profit Schmidt Futures in the fall of 2021. Forbes’ Alex Knapp reports that these small, non-profit research groups, which Convergent calls “focused research organizations” (FROs), aim to “support an ecosystem of small-to-mid scale projects that fall between the cracks of what startups, academia, and other organizations do,” Convergent’s current CEO Adam Marblestone and several of his colleagues wrote in a commentary in Nature in January 2022.

Right now, Convergent has two FROs up and running: E11 Bio, aimed at brain-circuit mapping for neuroscience, and Cultivarium, which seeks to build ways to work with a wide variety of microorganisms for synthetic biology applications that it plans to open source to the scientific community.

Why it’s important – FROs take on problems that might require a greater level of team science or systems engineering than is possible in an academic setting. Or they might aim at producing public goods that venture capital could not profit from.

Leave a Reply