WellStar Health System, the largest nonprofit integrated delivery system in Georgia, has made a strategic investment in Atlanta-based non-contact patient monitoring company Sensiotec, the monitoring company announced at an event in Atlanta on Wednesday. Although the exact financials of the equity deal were not disclosed, CEO Robert Arkin told MobiHealthNews the amount was in the seven-figure range.
The investment comes through WellStar’s Center for Health Transformation, and will support five clinical studies of Sensiotec’s bed sensor, which will also be rolled out at WellStar facilities. The studies will demonstrate the efficacy of the technology in various care settings, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, acute care, sleep labs, pediatrics, and post-discharge patients recovering at home. The first deployment will be in WellStar’s sleep center.
Sensiotec’s FDA-cleared Virtual Medical Assistant technology uses ultra-wide band (UWB), a high-frequency, low power radar technology that monitors heart and respiration rates without the need to touch the patient at all, and transmits the data to a cloud-based platform. From there it can be accessed by various members of the patient’s care team, like doctors, nurses, or home caregivers.
“Until now we’ve just had snapshots of how a patient feels, depending on whether they’ve come into the hospital or not,” Arkin told MobiHealthNews. “This is the very first time we’ll be getting continuous data streams about the physiological condition of the patient. The way that you change the standard of care is through evidence-based medicine, and this is a good example of utilization of evidence-based medicine.”
WellStar has an accountable care organization (ACO), Arkin said, which makes reducing readmissions and in-hospital costs an especially high priority. That makes WellStar a good test case for deploying VMA in various care settings such as patients’ homes or assisted living facilities.
“They have something on the order of 62,000 lives inside their ACO,” he said. “They receive dollars directly from CMS and they’re also on the hook for those covered lives whether they’re inside or out of the hospital.”
The company is also working on iterating the sensor itself, Arkin said. It’s currently a flat unit about two feet square that’s placed under the patient's bed.
“The next generation will be about a quarter of that size,” he said. “The reason it's so big is because of the antenna array, but we’re moving to an antenna array that’s been designed by a rocket scientist and it’s going to be considerably smaller and have a wider range.”