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  • The race is on to create a coronavirus vaccine.

  • Even as pharmaceutical giants and institutions roll out trials at breakneck speed, many entrepreneurs

  • are also rushing to disrupt the way we see a doctor and are diagnosed.

  • This transition that we are in, it started even before the pandemic.

  • I'm speaking to three start-up CEOs to get the pulse on how they're evolving the medical

  • technology industry amid the pandemic.

  • The world was changing; we had to change as well as a company.

  • We would like to understand how our device can support early detect Covid or better detect Covid.

  • The World Health Organization describes medical technology, or medtech, as the use of knowledge

  • and technology in devices, medicines and procedures to advance human health.

  • One aspect of that which has been vital lately is telemedicine, or remote healthcare services.

  • In 2019, the global telemedicine market was worth $45.5 billion,

  • with projections to almost quadruple by 2026.

  • With more people staying indoors and social distancing during the pandemic,

  • there is a growing demand for remote medical services.

  • We have more than doubled our volumes in a very short time.

  • That's a market 32-year-old Swedish entrepreneur, Johannes Schildt, and his co-founders

  • have been working on since launching their medical video consultation service in 2015.

  • The platform, known as Kry, or Livi in English speaking markets, connects users directly

  • with qualified doctors via its app as an alternative to in-person care.

  • You save travel, it's very convenient, you don't have to be in a waiting room being sneezed at.

  • Now, of course, with the rather sad backdrop of a pandemic, it's starting

  • to be painfully obvious for a lot of people that this is a crucial part of their healthcare

  • infrastructure moving forward.

  • Between February and April, the company saw demand in Europe surge more than 160%, both

  • both for Covid-19 queries and general care.

  • Healthcare professionals, too, are eager to move their services online as a new revenue stream.

  • There's definitely been a change from the clinician side, where they are eager to try

  • out new services and deliver healthcare in new ways out of necessity

  • because you have to.

  • That has also prompted the company to roll out Livi Connect, a free basic service,

  • in response to growing demand during the pandemic.

  • While healthcare regulators were previously cautious about rolling out telemedicine services,

  • Johannes says that's the pandemic has led to a rethink of regulations,

  • which could accelerate his vision for healthcare.

  • One of our bottlenecks has been market access, that you've had nations that were not

  • allowed to do telemedicine, and it was not reimbursed.

  • But this is now rapidly changing across the globe.

  • On a policy side, I think a lot of this is here to stay and it has opened the eyes for

  • a lot of people and entities that what we have been doing for five years is a really good thing.

  • Elsewhere, some developments have come about almost by chance, according to Harpreet Singh Rai,

  • CEO of Finnish smart health tracker Oura.

  • The wearable, a titanium ring, was released in 2015 to give people a picture of their overall health score

  • by monitoring their movement and sleep, among other functions.

  • A drop in the scores could be an early predictor of an illness, and even pre-empt the flu season.

  • As it turns out, the ring was also able to detect Covid-19 symptoms up to three days

  • in advance with 90% accuracy.

  • This all started on March 11th.

  • A user of ours made a Facebook post detailing actually what happened.

  • He saw changes in his Oura ring data.

  • He had been traveling in the prior days and he decided to go get a test for Covid.

  • Turns out he was positive. And then he detailed it. He described himself as asymptomatic,

  • which he thought made this virus so dangerous, and told people about his experience with Oura

  • and seeing such meaningful changes in data that allowed him to understand that he may be sick.

  • Now, the company is finding ways to use telltale data, such as body temperature, sleep patterns

  • and heart rate variability, to help detect cases among frontline workers and general users.

  • We've obviously since then seen businesses who are interested as they try to figure out

  • how to reopen this economy. The Las Vegas Sands actually was our first customer.

  • Given what was happening, we just wanted to figure out how we could help.

  • That includes partnering with athletes to get the sports calendar back on track.

  • In June, the NBA bought more than 1,000 rings, which cost upwards of $300 each,

  • as their season resumes.

  • We work really, really hard with both the NBA and the NBPA, which is essentially their union,

  • to make sure that players felt secure about their data. And so what we did as a company was,

  • cleverly, our team came up with this idea of a risk score.

  • It's an aggregated view of the probability of risk. And if someone is really elevated on the risk score,

  • they then call the team medical doctor and they suggest that a second test be done for Covid.

  • With finite tests currently available, and the costs still high, it's important to

  • find alternative means of collecting data on the virus, too.

  • That's where Lea von Bidder, co-founder of women's health company Ava, comes in.

  • The Swiss company's flagship product, the Ava Bracelet, launched in 2016

  • to help women track their fertility cycles.

  • Ava the bracelet looks like this. I wear it right now. It picks up three million data points per night.

  • Breathing rate, profusion, skin temperature, heart rate.

  • Over the years, the tracker has helped more than 30,000 couples get pregnant in Europe and the U.S.

  • But now the 30-year-old CEO and her team are using Ava's anonymized data to figure out

  • how the coronavirus impacts women specifically.

  • What's really interesting with us coming from this fertility, menstrual cycle background,

  • is that we understand the 'normal' for women really, really well, which is important

  • now when we look at Covid.

  • And what might that mean for women and pregnancy specifically?

  • In the past, we've often had the issue where women weren't included in clinical studies

  • because they were quote, unquote 'too complex' for whatever was studied.

  • I think in this case, specifically, it's really important to look at what changes already happen

  • in order to really understand what's happening with Covid and women.

  • Meanwhile, the multi-sensory bracelet is being put to use in various pan-European studies

  • to monitor symptoms of the virus on broader cross-sections of society.

  • We started in March our first clinical study to see if we could early detect symptoms of Covid.

  • A few weeks later, we got a rather large grant in Europe to run a very large

  • study with 40,000 participants using our device to monitor symptoms. And this is not only

  • focused on women. It's also not only focused on fertility or pregnancy. It's really a

  • broad study where we give our bracelet and our technology to a larger cohort to really

  • understand what we can learn out of the data for Covid.

  • While it's not yet clear what role these innovations will play in the fight against

  • Covid-19, the way you keep your health in check in the future could look very different.

  • Consumers know now that these devices have gotten more accurate, the health applications

  • can be greater and greater, and I still think we're pretty low penetration. You know,

  • if you look the value of that, the value of knowing that you may be getting sick and then

  • protecting yourselves from spreading this and protecting your loved ones and your fellow colleagues.

  • I mean, that's huge!

The race is on to create a coronavirus vaccine.

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B1 covid healthcare data ava detect pandemic

How the pandemic is accelerating changes in healthcare | CNBC Make It

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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