Startup targeting diabetic foot ulcers hunts for mobile health partner (video)

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The cost of treating diabetes and its complications adds up to $116 billion, with roughly one-third spent on diabetic foot ulcers, according to a 2007 study. A Canadian medical device company has developed a pressure-sensitive wireless alert system aimed at diabetics who fit into a high-risk group for developing these foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation.

The goal of Orpyx Medical Technologies‘ Surrosense RX device is to alert patients to an impending foot ulcer so they can seek medical attention before it develops on the skin’s surface. It is also interested in finding a U.S mobile health partner with experience with apps and interoperability.

The patients that fit into this group are those diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. People with this condition have little or no sensitivity in the vulnerable area because of the condition, increasing the likelihood of a recurrence. “Typically they have had an ulceration heal and are very motivated to prevent a second outbreak,” said Amanda Hehr, the vice president of marketing for Calgary-based Orpyx.

Another product being developed by the company also ties in with foot ulcers. The SurroGait RX device sends a light vibration to the back when the person is nearing a danger zone for developing an ulcer on their foot. It’s also designed to improve gait and balance for people with peripheral neuropathy. Over time, the device is intended to educate users to feel the sensation they would normally feel on their feet on their backs. It is intended to reduce the risk of falls because of the lack of sensation by the feet.

The company was one of 12 pitching at the fourth annual Canadian eHealth Innovation Summit at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia this week. The Canadian Consulate is selecting up to six of these companies to join a health IT accelerator it is launching at the Science Center next year.

Hehr spoke with MedCity News about the device and strategic partnerships it’s interested in forging with U.S. companies.

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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