Health Tech | Getting to Know Vital Connect: An Interview with Nersi Nazari, MD

By Shiv Gaglani

In February, the executive director of FutureMed, Daniel Kraft, MD, was giving one of his characteristically fast-paced and exciting presentations on medical technology when midway through he clicked a link to navigate to a browser view. Soon the audience was treated to a live stream of his key vital signs: heart rate, respiratory rate, skin temperature, and one-lead ECG. His heart rate climbed from the 90s into the 100s—likely a result of his presentation style rather than nerves in front of the high-profile audience. Dr. Kraft was wearing an early version of the Vital Connect HealthPatch MD biosensor, which collects and transmits data streams from eight core health metrics from the body to the cloud.

Vital Connect HealthPatch MD biosensor
The HealthPatch MD biosensor
Earlier this month, I was back at FutureMed and again came across Vital Connect. The company won “Best Pitch” out of a crowded field of med-tech start-ups, which gave me a perfect opportunity to interview its chairman and CEO, Nersi Nazari, MD.

Can you describe the origin and purpose of Vital Connect?

Vital Connect is a leader in the development of next-generation biosensor technology tailored for use in three health care categories, including clinical, remote monitoring, and health and wellness. The idea for Vital Connect’s flagship product, the HealthPatch MD biosensor, was generated by one of the co-founders. A group of individuals privately funded the development of a prototype and market testing, and together realized the incredible potential for a product like HealthPatch™ MD in the health care market. From there, the company has grown to 50 people.

Exactly what vital signs does the biosensor collect?

The HealthPatch™ MD biosensor monitors single-lead ECG, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, body posture, steps, and fall detection/severity. Processing thousands of data points per minute, Vital Connect’s sophisticated SensorFusion algorithms analyze multiple biometrics to generate intelligent health measurements that are more meaningful and accurate than any individual biometric alone. These measurements can include stress, sleep staging and quality, and contextual heart rate, among other health predictors.

How does the device work, e.g., sensor specifications and communications?

The HealthPatch™ MD biosesnsor is worn on one of three specified locations on the torso. Designed to be unobtrusive and comfortable, it wirelessly and securely transmits biometric data via Bluetooth 4.0 to a smartphone, body-worn mobile communications device, or hub. The data can then be relayed in real-time to a HIPPA-compliant cloud. Configurable thresholds allow for notifications to be delivered notifying clinicians of potentially adverse events. Both real-time and historical data can be accessed via web-based dashboards.

What are the various use cases for your product?

Vital Connect partners with a variety of medical product and service companies to deploy its biosensor technology. These include a number of remote monitoring service companies focused on the cardiology market. Cardiologists will be able to use HealthPatch MD to:

  • Remotely monitor patients for arrhythmias continuously and in real-time with customizable alerts directed to selected caregivers
  • Prevent readmission using continuously monitored patient biometrics for conditions such as congestive heart failure
  • Track progress and provide meaningful feedback to patients during cardiac rehabilitation programs
  • Access a biometric data cloud-based repository allowing review of historic patient exercise, heart rate, rhythm, etc., during patient clinic visits
  • Improve clinic flow by reduction or elimination of vital signs measurement performed by staff during medical care visits due to real-time, continuous collection of biometrics

How does this differ from a Holter monitor?

Compared to a Holter monitor, it’s smaller, less “noisy” (i.e., has a better signal quality), and easier to wear for the patient. In addition to storing the data on the device, it streams to the cloud for immediate analysis including alerts/notifications should the provider desire them.

What intellectual property protection do you have?

Vital Connect has filed 26 patents to date, and we have an active IP generation and protection program.

How do people get access to Vital Connect?

Vital Connect is currently engaged with a significant number of partners to deploy its biosensors globally. The Vital Connect Platform wireless physiological monitoring system, marketed under the name HealthPatch MD, has received regulatory approval (CE Mark) for distribution in the European Union, and it is CMDCAS Certified for distribution in Canada. HealthPatch MD is also under FDA review for sale in the United States.

What else is in the pipeline from Vital Connect?

Vital Connect is developing an array of products leveraging its biosensor technology. These products will measure additional vital signs and other advanced biometric measurements.

Shiv Gaglani is an MD/MBA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School. He writes about trends in medicine and technology and has had his work published in Medgadget, The Atlantic, and Emergency Physicians Monthly.

Keywords: Health Care Sector, Respiratory Rate, Skin Temperature, Heart Failure, Heart Rate

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