It has been a pleasure getting to know Sajol Ghoshal, CEO of Advanced Telesensors and learning all about Cardio, one of our newest members to the GAIL. I had an opportunity to demo their amazing technology that is making waves in the way cardiac health is monitored and managed.
To give some background, Sajol shared some stunning statistics: "70% of aging adults have some form of chronic disease like diabetes, HBP, stroke, or Afib, 80% of folks are diagnosed with heart disease upon admission to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of a hospital and every 34 seconds someone in the US is having a heart attack!" Knowing that a life-threatening event can occur suddenly, either by an abrupt fatality within one hour since symptoms began, or up to 24 hours of being asymptomatic, Cardio's founders were motivated to figure out a solution to try and identify predictors to these significant life-changing events.
In a recent conversation with Sajol, he shared with me the motivation for the founders to start Cardio: "it was designed to monitor older adults continuously, especially those living alone in their home or in assisted living facilities. We all know someone who has suffered a heart attack, and guess what, it happened suddenly. One way to better protect our seniors is to monitor their cardiac activity continuously." One of the challenges with continuous monitoring with products that are out there today is that they require the older adults to wear a device that can monitor the cardiac status of the individual. This presents risk of the older adult taking off the device, charging the device routinely and forgetting the device when they might have some cognitive impairment. "Older adults don’t want to be encumbered with the inconvenience of maintaining a wearable and as they age. Early onset of Alzheimer’s disease can make them forgetful and so maintenance of a wearable is impossible.", Sajol expressed. This is where Cardio is different.
Cardio is a non-intrusive, 24/7 vital signs monitor powered by radar, that mounts on the wall and monitors heart rate and respiratory rate of the older adult continuously without any
wearables or wires. It not only is mostly invisible to the older adult, but it protects against skin damage or breakdown from having to don a wearable of any sort. Furthermore, Sajol stated "The best part is that they won’t even know it it’s there. Cardio connects through WiFi and provides tailored alerts to family members or caregivers whenever it detects abnormal spikes or dips in heart rate or respiratory rate, providing early warning of episodic events." It serves as a "Spot Check Buddy” to monitor aging adults between visits from caregivers or family members, providing alerts on episodic events, before it is too late. Cardio also tracks motion of the person in the room. "By detecting a lack of motion provides additional information for sleep tracking or other concerns." As a former Senior Living executive myself, I foresee many value propositions for how Cardio's technology can be leveraged to help with the monitoring and early intervention efforts of skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities working with more acute patients than in previous years.
Cardio's founders have a unique and exciting background. The company’s founders are Steve Monacos and Paulo Focardi both from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL). Sajol was introduced to the company in 2016, when he was the VP of Emerging Technologies at AMS AG. The company was originally founded and developed by the team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) in Pasadena California. This team of was originally funded by the government to detect signs of life. When this work was completed, the engineers who had worked on this project founded Advanced TeleSensors and developed the prototype cardiac monitor while working on weekends and nights, while they continued to work at NASA’s JPL. These engineers were from the Mars Rover Mission and used the knowledge of radar sensing and machine learning used on space mission projects to detect the minute heart rate vibrations on the human body.
Sajol stated that he is very motivated about working with this team of founders because he "could feel that the world needed this technology. I knew this was doing work where we can make a difference in the lives of people. I used the monitor when my mother got CHF when she was 99 and I used the device till she passed away at 101. She lived in AZ and I was in TX, and I would get alerts on my phone when her respiratory rate was elevated, a symptom of CHF. I could quickly contact my sister who was local and also look at the camera in her room to make sure she was ok. This gave me peace of mind and reduced that dreaded feeling you get of worrying about that call you may get at 3AM in the morning."
As we all know that trying to build trust among customers is tough when looking to develop such cutting-edge technology. Sajol stated that Cardio is hoping to build trust in their product by broad "adoption of use by physicians and nurses to compare it to current day wearables. Validating the accuracy, reliability and long-term historical performance of the device is key when developing this type of innovation for older adults." Sajol has been working with the team at Greenroom Technologies who specialize in business viability through market and technology readiness to develop initiatives that can help build this trust with the right markets for Cardio. The most surprising lesson learned to date in Cardio's journey is that "we need to have a lot of patience to allow for the adoption of this device. Because there no tangible device on the person, most people find it hard to believe that it actually works. We are breaking into an new paradigm and people need to see similar or close to similar use cases to understand the usage of this new device."
As with most members of the GAIL and one of the main reasons the GAIL was developed is the gap that exists between startups and the ability to get to market fast and efficiently. Sajol validated this gap as well. "The big gap is the ability to have a “real” testbed that can be used to test and validate new technologies without a significant overhead. This would enable faster adoption and confidence building. By a “real” testbed, I mean that the device is tested in a “live” environment where the value of the device can be evaluated over time."
As a new GAIL member, Cardio is seeking collaboration with like-minded innovators in AgeTech where applications, problems and usage can be discussed and discovered. The ability to work with multiple different devices in a “real" Testbed where multiple devices from different companies can be evaluated and data shared among members, with the added aspect of using AI based techniques to create “Big Data” to predict potential trends that can impact health aspect.
As I experienced with Sajol and the Cardio brand is that they are open to connecting and collaborating for pilots and/or research to help build trust and increase use of their innovative solution. Check out this video of our demo time together and please reach out to either Sajol (email@example.com) or the GAIL (firstname.lastname@example.org) to connect and discover what the possibilities are with Cardio.