Rambam Hospital in the Israeli city of Haifa will next week begin a clinical trial of a novel technological solution for remotely monitoring and diagnosing the status of COVID-19 patients based on the analysis of their speech pattern sampled with the use of a cellular application.
The HearO technology developed by the startup Cordio Medical could provide the capability for sophisticated management of COVID-19 patients who have been diagnosed and are in isolation but have not yet been hospitalized. The clinical trial will be led by Dr. Gidon Berger and Professor Zaher Azzam from Rambam Hospital and overseen by Professor Ilan Shallom, CTO at Cordio. Rambam, which is one of Israel's major hospitals, provides comprehensive medical services for adults and children in all fields of medicine.
The new solution is based on HearO, a proven technology developed by Cordio for the remote monitoring and diagnosis of patients suffering from heart failure. The system analyzes recordings of a patient’s speech using only the patient's speech, sampled via a mobile device. Cordio's system can sense fluid accumulation and forewarns of an anticipated deterioration of the heart failure situation in patients, that can lead to hospitalization.
This solution has already been proven in clinical trials of hundreds of patients at ten medical institutions, including Rambam, Beilinson, Barzilai, Hagalil, Clalit Health Services and others. The system provided pre deterioration notice concerning the condition of heart failure patients on an average of ten days prior to an acute heart failure hospitalization, with an accuracy rate of over 80%. As a result of these encouraging results, the HearO system is in the process of obtaining FDA approval as means to monitor heart failure patients in the community.
Cordio Medical was established by Professor Lotan together with Peregrine Ventures, after Peregrine identified the need for a simple solution that would enable the monitoring of heart failure patients, the most common chronic disease in the world. Peregrine has supported Cordio strategically, financially and operationally from the outset and is closely following the clinical trial of the HearO system for the fight against the COVID-19 virus. Peregrine is a leading Israeli med-tech venture capital fund which has already completed 10 exits totaling more than $2 billion in cumulative value.
Cordio’s novel solution for COVID-19 patients is based on adapting HearO to the deterioration process associated with the coronavirus that is characterized by bilateral pneumonia with edema in the lungs. The aim is for the HearO system to identify a deterioration in the patient’s condition based on slight changes in lung fluids and the onset of inflammation before he or she feels it, and at times even before a diagnosis can be made by analyzing recordings of the patient’s speech.
There are currently thousands of diagnosed COVID-19 patients in Israel who are in isolation at hotels, at home and at other facilities. These patients are monitored using very simple techniques including taking of their temperature or a subjective assessment. Many are transferred to hospitals in a manner that creates stress on the health system. Cordio’s novel solution is designed to make remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients more efficient, to identify with the use of a user-friendly mobile app those whose condition is deteriorating and need to be hospitalized and to reduce the pressure on hospitals. It will also be used for remotely monitoring the condition of COVID-19 patients who have recovered and returned to their homes.
Tamir Tal, Cordio Medical CEO, said: "The coronavirus pandemic requires the efficient managing of the resources of the health system in order for it to handle the thousands of patients whose number is only increasing and to hospitalize only those with the highest risk. The forecast for an increasing number of infected people will enable us to conduct a wide scale clinical trial within a couple of weeks at Rambam Hospital. The trial will lead to a turning point in the ability of the health system to efficiently manage the struggle against the pandemic."
Professor Chaim Lotan, Medical Director at Cordio, and the former Director of the Heart Institute at Hadassah Hospital, said: "The solution for remotely diagnosing the condition of COVID-19 patients is based on a proven technology that can be quickly adapted for the new pandemic. According to the statistical projections, within a few weeks we will reach the level of tens of thousands of diagnosed patients in Israel. If we succeed through the assistance of Rambam Hospital in proving the efficiency of the system, we will be able to establish a fully operational network within about two months."
Dr. Michael Halbertal, Director General of Rambam Hospital, noted: "The successful trial we conducted with Cordio for identifying a deterioration of patients with heart failure gives us hope that we will be able to successfully adapt a similar system for identifying the deterioration in COVID-19 patients who have not yet been hospitalized or who have been discharged to their homes suffering with only a minor case or after complete recovery. Rambam, like other health institutions, is quickly adapting telemedicine and digital health technologies capable of diagnosing diseases, conserving resources and reducing risk and the pressure on medical teams. Solutions like those of Cordio are especially critical for dealing with the coronavirus which confronts health institutions with complex and large-scale challenges that have not been witnessed before."