Over the past year, the market has seen a flooding of various wearable technology devices. Discussion has one again been buzzing this past week over the sustainability of said wearable devices with the recent disappointing 4th quarter earning reports coming out of one of the most well-known, Fitbit. What many people are not discussing though, and should be, are the advances that are being made in the realm of developing wearable monitoring devices that are actually of medical grade quality.
Recently, I checked in with Andreas Caduff, PhD, founder and CEO of Biovotion. Biovotion is a medical monitoring solution platform that measures clinical grade vital sign data on a variety of parameters like heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygenation, respiration rate, skin temperature, activity and steps. Also energy expenditure, sleep and stress levels can be determined. Future parameters like blood glucose are planned. The device has already received CE medical certification, FDA 510 (k) filing is under preparation. Developed in 2011 in Switzerland, Biovotion has found a way to combine the desires of today’s consumerist culture for the latest device with advanced physiology monitoring that improves healthcare treatment outcomes and reduces the cost of health provisions.
I was incredibly excited to learn more about how Biovotion is expanding upon the idea of personal health monitoring and bringing it up to par with medical grade guidelines. Caduff even took some time to detail some differences that he sees between the United State’s healthcare market and that of the European Union.
Junto Health (JH): What was your inspiration for founding Biovotion?
Andreas Caduff (AC): The core of our team holds considerable knowledge in wearable monitoring and how to develop medical devices. The understanding that comes from that, combined with the development we are seeing in the software ecosystem space, machine learning and other forms of codified expert knowledge are of a monumental magnitude. We see tremendous value in an adequate combination of such elements and a great opportunity to bring solutions that address fundamental needs.
JH: In a market that is filled with various other wearable devices such as Fitbit and Apple Watch, how does Biovotion differentiate itself from competitors?
AC: Unlike the fitness devices that are available on the market, Biovotion provides medical- grade wearable physiological monitoring. We generate high quality data, which is the basis for our advanced algorithms. Information only creates value when it is connected to insights. We put that multiplier effect to work with highly personalised and predictive health models.
Biovotion combines medical-grade sensing technology with consumer-centric design, convenience and usability. Our solutions support users to optimize health, improve treatment outcomes and reduce the cost burden of health care provisions. The sensing infrastructure is based in a multisensory concept; hence it allows capturing of a multitude of parameters with one single device.
Embedded into a strictly secured platform with subscribable service offerings makes the Biovotion solution somewhat unique. In addition, Biovotion is creating a controlled, open ecosystem that allows the development of best-in-class and use-case specific data analytics solutions by 3rd parties.
JH: What is the ideal demographic of Biovotion users?
AC: Biovotion can add value to anybody’s life as we stand for encouraging a healthy lifestyle, preventing health deterioration and managing disease. Healthcare or taking care of your own health shouldn’t be limited to institutions. 99.8% of a patient’s life takes place outside the hospital or physician’s office. With our medical device and connected ecosystem we allow patients greater independence away from hospitals and primary care support and driving patient-centric approaches and patient empowerment.
JH: What are the next 3 milestones for Biovotion?
AC: Our next 3 milestones are:
- Demonstrating the robustness of the first fully integrated offering in larger field applications in various user groups.
- Expanding on the ecosystem functions by establishing subscribable services.
- Continue to execute on the global regulatory strategy by getting further regulatory clearances, including an FDA 510(k) approval.
JH: As Biovotion is a Europe-based company, are you planning on expanding to any other regions in the near future? What are some of the biggest challenges that you anticipate when it comes to infiltrating other markets?
AC: Our expansion strategy is less based on the company’s location but the market readiness and adoption of these novel technologies. Taking this into account, the United States is of high strategic relevance to us. There is a rising need to manage chronic disease with mHealth solutions to reduce costs. We are already in touch with large US-based healthcare providers and in the course of planning pilots around customer specific use- cases. In order to successfully address the US market, FDA 510(k) approval is required. We are optimistic to obtain this within the next 6 months after having successfully registered the device in Europe in 2016.
Asia is another region part of our expansion strategy with increasing number of chronic diseases, increased awareness of own health management and growing healthcare spending.
Apart from registration, our main challenge is to find strong partners in the different regions that have good customer access, passion for driving the change with the powerful technology and understanding the local cultural and economic framework. We are in the lucky position to already have some excellent partners on board but further expansion will require continuing negotiations.
JH: What’s one thing the US healthcare industry should adopt from the EU healthcare industry?
AC: We obviously have the highest respect for the US healthcare industry considering its unrivalled global position. One thing that non-US markets had to adapt to earlier and which will become increasingly relevant also in the US is the affordability of high-quality care. As a European developer of healthcare solutions, it was clear to us from that start that we not only had to work on solutions that improve patient care and outcomes, but also reduce the cost of health provision. This, however, cannot come at the cost of product quality (we produce in Switzerland), but needs to be based on novel approaches in product design and business models.
With its potential implementation in health plans of individuals in all stages of life and possibility of providing readings to medical professionals, Biovotion is elevating the reliability and medical potential of wearable devices. To follow their progress, you can find them on Twitter @Biovotion and view their website at www.biovotion.com.