Connected Health in Treatment
The advent of COVID-19 has brought with it many changes. Specifically, trends in connected health are rapidly emerging as the pandemic disrupts global markets, supply chains and consumer confidence. In our first article, we examine the impact of COVID-19 on telemedicine and why we expect this trend to persist. Our latest article discusses how existing treatment options can help to both treat patients and report critical data in real time.
Therapeutics with Telemedicine
Life will be different once the current COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, and we believe many connected health companies will emerge stronger from the resulting permanent changes in our everyday lives. One consistent theme that we find throughout our universe is increased offerings of at-home care products combined with a remote monitoring function for clinicians. Given the current impact of COVID-19, respiratory ailments and shrinking hospital capacity issues are top-of-mind. We believe a simpler and timelier treatment would be to take advantage of wearable monitoring and treatment technology (wearables) that patients may already feel comfortable using in their everyday lives. Through our Connected Health thematic research we unearthed an innovative solution: wearable vests that act as airway clearance systems and remotely monitor vital signs.
The wearable is a Bluetooth-enabled vest currently worn by patients with chronic lung disease. The device manages this illness by maintaining lung function and virtually connecting the patient and their data with doctors. Worn at home, the vest applies gentle pressure to the chest wall, treating all lobes of the lung. It effectively removes accumulated secretions, reduces exacerbations, and allows for easier breathing. In a study by the Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, a vest was found to improve pulmonary function for 94% of Cystic Fibrosis patients that used the vest for 22 months versus traditional methods.1 The vest is not intended to treat any specific underlying disease, but rather to provide airway clearance therapy. We potentially see this as an option for COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe, providing dual benefits: vests could help with breathing and removing lung secretions while also sending data to doctors who help monitor the severity of the illness as it progresses or heals.
As discussed in our first installment of our Connected Health series on Telemedicine, we believe the outbreak of COVID-19 has forced clinicians to innovate. Once the pandemic has waned, we think prescribed use of this respiratory innovation will continue to proliferate as the virus establishes familiarity. While there will be many unique and potentially revolutionary solutions for how we navigate COVID-19 over time, our research invariably returns to a key principle: the simplest solution is almost always the best one. We believe examples like wearable vests are simple, economical, and ready-to-use solutions that can help manage COVID-19.
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