While many companies are looking to help monitor patients at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 Health and Technologies Inc., of Irvine, Calif., is focused on those with chronic digestive diseases. The company recently said it was offering 12 weeks of free service using the Alfred Smartcare Platform to provide support for people with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer and ostomies.

The U.S. FDA-cleared platform brings together tech-enabled medical bags, remote monitoring and peer-to-peer support, with the goal of helping patients manage their chronic digestive conditions.

Patients will receive 24/7 access to coaches nationwide, with immediate service providing psychological and physical support that aims to help reduce hospital readmissions. For patients using the platform, 82% of escalations to a nurse triggered by the system were resolved at the first encounter. That resulted in a 45% reduction in acute care encounters overall, to include a 31% reduction in hospital readmissions. The platform can be used with or without 11 Health’s smart ostomy bag.

‘A personal mission’

“11 Health is a personal mission,” Michael Seres, founder and CEO of 11 Health, told BioWorld. He noted that he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease around the age of 12. He ultimately underwent a bowel transplant and thus required an ileostomy. That experience drove the founding of the company.

Patients use their ostomy bag, which is basically a collection vessel. They may not know when it fills, and emptying is problematic. This technology can be used to manage output and reduce readmissions in the first 30 to 90 days postoperatively.

Specifically, using their smartphone, patients can obtain clinical expertise on managing health care issues and education on dehydration. They also can gain digital insights into their ostomy output, interactions, health check results and trackers.

“It’s really the combination of smart technology, remote monitoring and coaching,” Seres continued, and it works as a real-time solution. This is important because many of these patients are readmitted after surgery due to issues such as dehydration and infections. Indeed, the company highlighted a study that found that 24% of hospitalized IBD patients are readmitted within 90 days.

Positive response

People have taken notice of the company’s offering. “We’ve received a great response,” Seres added when asked about feedback from doctors and patients. “We’ve been working very closely with a number of the leading institutions here in the U.S. And, sadly, we’re in a space that has never had any real innovation.”

In the wake of the current crisis, the company had seen a 400% increase in app downloads at the end of last month. “We did 600 more coaching sessions in March than we’ve ever done before.” He sees the peer-to-peer coaching as particularly valuable for new patients, as their coaching partners have undergone what they are experiencing.

“In the digestive and colorectal space, there’s no one offering what we do,” Seres replied when asked if there were others directly in this space. He added that his company offers personalization that no one else does.

The company is currently focused on the U.S.; however, there are clinical studies in France and the Netherlands that it is working through. The company is also eyeing Asia and Australasia.

Patients interested in the platform can download the Alfred Smartcare app via Google Play or the App Store and register for the service.

Originally from the U.K., Seres saw his company win financial backing via the Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI), an NHS England program to develop products that address unmet health needs. In October 2016, SBRI reported that the company was one of five that reached phase II of the clinically led competition. Companies were awarded up to £1 million (US$1.2 million) each to help develop products focusing on addressing the challenges faced by older people suffering with complex health conditions.

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