Startups, Devices & Diagnostics, Health Services

Silicon Valley startup VivaLNK wants to be the Amazon Cloud of remote patient monitoring

VivaLNK is currently developing a cardiac device, which is the centerpiece of a new platform with the capability to diagnose a-fibrillation more quickly and efficiently than traditional clinical standards.

heart, doctor, cardiac

The advancement of sensor technology that is smaller, less intrusive and more accurate has coincided with the movement of healthcare delivery from the clinic to the home making it possible to do remote patient monitoring more cheaply and effectively.

CMS has also opened up the floodgates for new technologies and startups through the creation of new billing codes for the remote monitoring of patients.

One of the companies vying to be a healthcare enabler of the future is Campbell, California-based remote monitoring company VivaLNK.

The 50-person startup has developed a range of sensor devices based on its core eSkin technology, which is a breathable film with integrated electronics that can be built into wearables.

VivaLNK’s first product is an FDA-cleared peel-and-stick wearable thermometer device called Fever Scout, which retails for $69. This was followed up by Vital Scout, an ECG monitoring device intended to measure stress, sleep and fitness that retails for $149. The devices have an associated mobile app to track and measure sensor results.

While these products are sold directly to consumers, the company also has a B2B business for healthcare organizations looking to build their own health monitoring solutions using VivaLNK sensors. Some examples include the use of the company’s sensors in clinical trials, to monitor chemotherapy patients at home and to identify risk signals that can predict heart failure.

VivaLNK also works with academic institutions to utilize its sensors in research projects. Last year, the company loaned out its Vital Scout wearable devices to Stanford University for use in a study on teenage stress and depression.

“Instead of developing specific vertical solutions, we’re taking Amazon Cloud approach in enabling and empowering our collaborators,” said VivaLNK Founder and CEO Jiang Li. “We eliminate a lot of the work necessary to develop the sensors so they can focus on the individual user application.”

VivaLNK is currently developing a cardiac device, which is the centerpiece of a new platform with the capability to diagnose a-fibrillation more quickly and efficiently than traditional clinical standards.

The company’s has also made a software development kit available for the new device to allow third-parties to build in their own diagnostic and clinical decision support tools utilizing VivaLNK’s hardware in areas like stroke prevention and hypertension control.

VivaLNK’s device has been submitted to regulators for marketing clearance and Li said the first major market for its new offering will likely be Europe.

Where the product differs from consumer wearable devices like the Apple Watch or AliveCor’s KardiaBand is in its placement on the chest allowing for more accurate heart sensing over a longer period of time.

A more comparable example is San Francisco-based iRhythm Technologies, which sells a continuous ECG monitoring called the Zio XT Patch that can also be worn on the chest for up to two weeks. Sales from the product have driven 2018 revenues in excess of $147 million, with around 40 percent growth expected for 2019.

Li laid out a few key differentiators from iRhythm’s product. First is the form factor of band-aid sized VivaLNK’s device which is smaller and more comfortable to wear than the Zio Patch, as well as its ability to capture additional vital signs past heart rate.

Another point of contrast is the VivaLNK’s suitability for long-term continuous monitoring. While the Zio Patch can only be worn for 14 days before being disposed, VivaLNK’s technology is intended to be recharged for use over an indefinite period of time.

There are drawbacks as well, adhesive patches need to be regularly purchased and the product only has about a 72 hour battery life.

But the product is also expected to be offered, according to Li, “at a much more affordable” price point than products like the Zio Patch.

Of course, he’s reticent to discuss specifics when it comes to pricing.

Ultimately, VivaLNK’s vision is to create a flexible platform that can be slotted in across a variety of use cases from at-home monitoring of elderly patients to providing insights to consumers interested in their cardiac health.

“Our sensor is designed with the goal of trying to empower the end patient or end-user better than anything else in the field by making it incredibly user-friendly,” Li said. 

Photo: BrianAJackson, Getty Images