TORONTO – Ontario and British Columbia med-tech companies have received CA$1.4 million (US$1 million) from Ottawa’s Supercluster fund, making a difference they said for patients suffering the long-range effects of COVID-19, chronic disease and undergoing joint replacement surgery. Kitchener, Ontario-based Cloud Dx Inc. has made its Connected Health Kit available to a social, one-on-one coaching platform developed by Vancouver-based health-tech company Curatio Inc. as part of their “Stronger Together” program.
“When the digital supercluster began asking companies to come up with solutions for remotely monitoring patients with COVID-19 and other conditions we realized that is precisely what Curatio’s expertise is,” Cloud Dx CMO Sonny Kohli told BioWorld. “Our own expertise is monitoring patients’ vital signs remotely and so we asked Why not combine the two?”
Cloud Dx caught the attention of investors in 2017 after its formation in the wake of a decision by Nova Scotia-based Biosign Technologies Inc. to shut down its hardware division. Biosign CEO Robert Kaul, HR head Anthony Kaul and Kohli, at that time Biosign’s CMO, purchased the division under the separate Cloud Dx banner, along with a vital signs monitor they called the Vitaliti.
Worn around the patient’s neck, the monitor enables patients to compile blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs “and come up with a diagnosis that would match the accuracy of a physician,” said Kohli at the time. Cloud Dx subsequently pulled in nearly US$10 million to finance its technology through an “angels choir” of more than forty physician investors – supplemented this August by CA$300,000 (US$231,000) in R&D funding from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).
The focus this time, said Kohli, is a tablet, the Connected Health Kit, which adds monitoring of respiration rates to other vital signs. “It has a pulse oximeter to measure your oxygen levels and a wireless weigh scale to measure your weight which is important to patients with congestive heart failure. It also has a blue tooth monitor to measure temperature.”
In addition, the tablet pushes digital surveys out to patients asking about their symptoms as they impact their quality of life, and then re-using that information to monitor patients again. Commercially available in Canada and already saving lives, said Kohli, the kit has garnered contracts with hospitals and ministries of health across Canada.
Broadening those connections
One beneficiary of that technology is the Stronger Together program designed to better monitor patient mental and physical health before and after surgery. Simply put, there are no trip advisory websites to help patients navigate their way through a cancer diagnosis or a serious heart attack.
“And so we built a platform that helps clinicians and any health organization prescribe social supports for patients at scale,” Lynda Brown-Ganzert, Curatio’s CEO told BioWorld. Patients also have access to the platform through electronic dashboards tailored to their needs, she noted.
“Importantly, it offloads repetition of information surgeons or doctors circulate twenty or thirty times each day, something which makes it hard for them to give one-on-one patient support.” The result, said Brown-Ganzert, has been better surgical preparedness, better therapeutic outcomes and better adherence to their care plans, “as well as improved well-being and psychosocial scores.”
Cloud Dx’s Connected Health Kit provides vital sign data to Curatio’s privacy and regulatory compliant platform for those patients who need to be closely monitored, Brown-Ganzert said. “We also find patients are super interested. They like the visibility that taking their own vital signs gives them.”
In recent months, the program has tripled down on support for people with COVID-19, including long haulers. But the platform itself is agnostic, Brown-Ganzert stressed, supporting patients awaiting joint replacement surgery, with chronic diseases like diabetes and mental health care challenges. But it and Cloud Dx’s Connected Health Kit have a broader application as well, she noted.
“Looking at entire patient populations in a particular category of physical or mental health can be extremely helpful to health care providers as well. The platform red flags them if someone’s health has departed from their baseline condition. It helps workflow efficiencies and management of patient populations at scale.”
Curatio’s next step will be to expand its efforts to diverse patient populations across the rest of Canada, notably in cardiovascular disease, stroke, mental health and COVID-19. Cloud Dx, said Kohli, will be front and center in that effort.
“Programs like Stronger Together are designed to refine co-offerings and eventually move to a position where we can market an improved product right across the country.”