With Lower Costs and Better Outcomes, Contactless Health Solutions Get Second Look

The accelerated shift to contactless during the pandemic has led to faster, simpler and seamless services. That innovation, according to Thomas Grellner, CEO at German MedTech startup Smedo, can also be injected into the healthcare sector to simplify processes and save lives.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Grellner said patients in intensive care units are currently monitored by several complex electrocardiogram (ECG) devices that are used to record a patient’s heart activity. While these tools are effective, they are expensive and can cost anywhere between $1,800 and $2,500 per device.

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Grellner said that replacing these devices with an affordable, contactless solution like the Smedo device will not only eliminate the high costs, but also translate into freeing up work hours for medical staff who are often overworked and spread too thin.

And it’s not just minimizing cost and easing staff pain points — soon, the device will enable the early detection of fatal cardiac events such as heart attacks, saving countless lives in the process.

“If we see that the signal is not picking up on any signs because the patient’s heart is not beating or they are not breathing anymore, we can immediately sound the alarm and send that information to the medical team directly,” Grellner explained.

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With the ability to record information from up to seven meters, the device can continuously record patients’ vital signs, including heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and temperature, measuring the data from not only one, but several people in a room, in real-time.

By using a high frequency band, he said that the wave-emitting device is not harmful, nor does it pose any health risks to patients or hospital personnel who can analyze the stored data at a later time.

Last month, the Berlin-based startup announced the closing of a seed financing round of close to €2 million ($2.1 million), which have been earmarked for the development and market launch of the contactless device in hospitals and nursing homes around the country.

Certification, Partnerships

Grellner said ensuring compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a top priority for the firm, which has made sure to design the device with the consumer’s data privacy and protection in mind.

For example, after the device identifies a patient, it only gathers anonymized data from that person alone, and the person’s unique identifier ensures that GDPR regulations are upheld, limiting the chances for the data to be exposed, Grellner explained.

Elsewhere, he explained that like any new medical device that is entering a market, establishing strong partnerships with hospitals and insurance companies both at home and abroad is key for business growth.

“[Insurance companies] are interested in having low fees that align with the costs in the healthcare market, and that is where we come in to deliver a really interesting product for this market,” Grellner added.

While there is a long certification process in the heavily-regulated German healthcare market — about 18 months — which they have yet to complete, he noted that it gives them the time to prepare their launch in the U.S. market, where the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require additional certification on top of EU certifications.

“Our goal is to get the certification in the most regulated [EU] market and from there spread it out easily to all other markets,” Grellner said. “Our aim is to not only develop the product for the European market, but to compete in markets around the world.”


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